The radical pair mechanism and the avian chemical compass

Quantum coherence and entanglement

Yiteng Zhang, Gennady P. Berman, Sabre Kais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We review the spin radical pair mechanism which is a promising explanation of avian navigation. This mechanism is based on the dependence of product yields on (1) the hyperfine interaction involving electron spins and neighboring nuclear spins and (2) the intensity and orientation of the geomagnetic field. This review describes the general scheme of chemical reactions involving radical pairs generated from singlet and triplet precursors; the spin dynamics of the radical pairs; and the magnetic field dependence of product yields caused by the radical pair mechanism. The main part of the review includes a description of the chemical compass in birds. We review: the general properties of the avian compass; the basic scheme of the radical pair mechanism; the reaction kinetics in cryptochrome; quantum coherence and entanglement in the avian compass; and the effects of noise. We believe that the quantum avian compass can play an important role in avian navigation and can also provide the foundation for a new generation of sensitive and selective magnetic-sensing nano-devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1327-1341
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Quantum Chemistry
Volume115
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015

Fingerprint

Navigation
navigation
Cryptochromes
Spin dynamics
Birds
Reaction kinetics
birds
Chemical reactions
geomagnetism
products
spin dynamics
nuclear spin
electron spin
Magnetic fields
chemical reactions
reaction kinetics
Electrons
magnetic fields
interactions

Keywords

  • chemical compass
  • quantum coherence
  • quantum entanglement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

Cite this

The radical pair mechanism and the avian chemical compass : Quantum coherence and entanglement. / Zhang, Yiteng; Berman, Gennady P.; Kais, Sabre.

In: International Journal of Quantum Chemistry, Vol. 115, No. 19, 01.10.2015, p. 1327-1341.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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