Sponsored by Renishaw
All talks start at 7.30pm in the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 22 - 26 George Street, with refreshments from 7.00 pm
Tuesday 6th November 2018 – Dr Erik Gauger (Heriot Watt University)
Lecture Title: Learning from Nature: bio-inspired quantum technologies?
Abstract: One of the stranger aspects of quantum mechanics is the superposition principle: it allows particles to exist in more than one place (or state) simultaneously - in stark contrast to the world of our everyday experience. Quantum superpositions are not only puzzling, they could also be key to super-charging new technologies, such as quantum computers, quantum-enhanced sensing, and secure
communication. However, in man-made systems, superposition states prove fragile and typically decay rapidly unless carefully protected in a very special environment. Could life have evolved to exploit such delicate phenomena? Recent experimental evidence suggests the answer is yes: for instance, Schrödinger cat states appear to play to a role in the photosynthetic process of bacteria and algae, and the directional sense of migratory birds is widely believed to be powered by superpositions states of electron spins inside a molecular compass structure. In this lecture, I will cover these intriguing examples of where Nature appears to have found ways of creating biological instances of "quantum technology” and discuss prospects for artificial quantum-enhanced light-harvesting and sensing