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Quantum control and entanglement in a chemical compass

Quantum control and entanglement in a chemical compass

Physical Review Letters 104(22): 220502

The radical-pair mechanism is one of the two main hypotheses to explain the navigability of animals in weak magnetic fields, enabling, e.g., birds to see Earth's magnetic field. It also plays an essential role in spin chemistry. Here, we show how quantum control can be used to either enhance or reduce the performance of such a chemical compass, providing a new route to further study the radical-pair mechanism and its applications. We study the role of radical-pair entanglement in this mechanism, and demonstrate its intriguing connections with the magnetic-field sensitivity of the compass. Beyond their immediate application to the radical-pair mechanism, these results also demonstrate how state-of-the-art quantum technologies could potentially be used to probe and control biological functions.

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Accession: 055326175

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PMID: 20867156

DOI: 10.1103/physrevlett.104.220502

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