Quantum effects in Biological Environments (QuBE)DARPA

Biological sensors often display high sensitivity, selectivity, and low false alarm rates while being fabricated and operated in dirty, noisy natural environments.  Attempts to emulate these sensors synthetically have not fully met expectations.  Recent evidence suggests that some biological sensors exploit nontrivial quantum mechanical effects to produce macroscopic output signals.  QuBE1thumbExamples of such sensors include the highly efficient energy transfer properties of photosynthesis in plants, bacteria, and algae; magnetic field sensing used by some birds for navigation; and the ability of some animals to detect odors at the single molecule level.  The Quantum Effects in Biological Environments (QuBE2thumbQuBE) program is laying the foundation for novel sensor designs by challenging the long-held view that biological sensors utilize primarily classical physics.  QuBE will verify, understand, and exploit these effects to develop new scientific foundations for sensor technologies for military applications.

Program Manager

Dr. Matthew Goodman


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