Quantum researchers find noise isn’t always bad—15 April 2016

A team of researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQuS) and the Friedrich Schiller University Jena have shown how noise can help transfer energy faster and more efficiently. Energy is transported by waves. Noise, or something that disturbs the wave, usually inhibits wave motion and can slow it down substantially. Their research has indicated that there are certain situations in which noise improves wave transport in a phenomenon called Environment-Assisted Quantum Transport (ENAQT). Lead researcher Dr Ivan Kassal, who is working at the forefront of research on quantum effects in photosynthesis, said that ENAQT was first proposed as an explanation for the energy transfer which occurs in plants and bacteria when they harvest light during photosynthesis. "Plants and bacteria harvest light using large antenna complexes. This light, or energy, is transported to reaction centres where the first chemical steps take place. The transport in the antenna is partially wave-like and very noisy,” said Dr Kassal. Professor Andrew White, chief investigator at EQuS, said that this research is the first implementation of controlled quantum decoherence in integrated optics, which will allow novel quantum computation techniques that take advantage of noise.


Media issued by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems.
Image: Quantum researchers find noise isn’t always bad. Image credit: EQuS.

Original Published Date: 
Friday, April 15, 2016