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Sustained quantum coherence and entanglement in the avian compass.

Gauger, EM; Rieper, E; Morton, JJ; Benjamin, SC; Vedral, V; (2011) Sustained quantum coherence and entanglement in the avian compass. Physical Review Letters , 106 (4) , Article 040503. 10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.040503. Green open access

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Abstract

In artificial systems, quantum superposition and entanglement typically decay rapidly unless cryogenic temperatures are used. Could life have evolved to exploit such delicate phenomena? Certain migratory birds have the ability to sense very subtle variations in Earth’s magnetic field. Here we apply quantum information theory and the widely accepted "radical pair" model to analyze recent experimental observations of the avian compass. We find that superposition and entanglement are sustained in this living system for at least tens of microseconds, exceeding the durations achieved in the best comparable man-made molecular systems. This conclusion is starkly at variance with the view that life is too "warm and wet" for such quantum phenomena to endure.

Type: Article
Title: Sustained quantum coherence and entanglement in the avian compass.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.040503
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.040503
Language: English
Additional information: © 2011 American Physical Society
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > London Centre for Nanotechnology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1362763
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