Natural Antibiotic Paves The Way For The Study Of The Quantum Properties Of Biomolecules
One of many great counter-intuitive puzzles of quantum mechanics is wave-particle duality. That is the phenomenon by which objects behave, each like particles and like waves.
Numerous experiments have proven that a single particle—an electron or a photon, for instance—can intrude with itself, like a wave. The double-slit experiment, wherein a particle passes through two slits at the same time, is a famous demonstration.
And since all objects are fundamentally quantum in nature, all of them have an associated wavelength. So in principle, macroscopic objects ought to present this sort of wave-particle duality too, given a sensitive enough experiment.
Physicists haven’t but devised a method to measure the wavelike nature of very massive objects. However, their ambition in this respect has been steadily growing. In 1999, they displayed the wave-particle duality of fullerene molecules. And different teams have since completed the same with even larger molecules. And that raises the interesting query of how big they can go.
At present, they get an answer due to the work of Armin Shayeghi on the University of Vienna and some colleagues, who, for the primary time, have displayed quantum interference in molecules of gramicidin, a natural antibiotic made up of 15 amino acids. Their work makes way for the research of the quantum properties of biomolecules and units the scene for experiments that utilize the quantum nature of enzymes, DNA, and maybe one-day easy life forms such as viruses.
Shayeghi and co’s experiment is easy in principle. Their strategy is to create a beam of ultracold gramicidin molecules, after which to measure the interference pattern created when this beam interferes with itself. This interference pattern is then clear proof of the wavelike nature of the molecules.