(TechnologyReview) Armin Shayeghi at the University of Vienna and a few colleagues, who for the first time, have demonstrated quantum interference in biomolecules of gramicidin, a natural antibiotic made up of 15 amino acids. Their work paves the way for the study of the quantum properties of biomolecules and sets the scene for experiments that exploit the quantum nature of enzymes, DNA, and perhaps one day simple life forms such as viruses.
Shayeghi and co’s experiment is simple in principle. Their approach is to create a beam of ultracold gramicidin molecules and then to measure the interference pattern created when this beam interferes with itself. This interference pattern is then clear evidence of the wavelike nature of the molecules.
New Technique Allows Study of Quantum Property of Biomolecules
Other researchers have measured wave-particle duality for larger molecules. But they have used techniques that would tear apart the delicate molecules of life. The new technique will allow more detailed study of the quantum properties of biomolecules.
This research has significant potential to help to tease apart the fabulously complex processes at work in the machinery of life.