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Title: The Radical Pair Mechanism and the Avian Chemical Compass: Quantum Coherence and Entanglement

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. One surprising result is that even at ambient conditions quantum entanglement of electron spins can play an important role in avian magnetoreception. 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.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN (United States)
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1169159
Report Number(s):
LA-UR--15-20694
DOE Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; 97 MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTING Biological Science