Quantum and classical phenomena in biology and nanophysics

Welcome to the QuantBioLab website

The Quantum Biology and Nanophysics research group was established at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) in October 2013 and is headed by Ilia A. Solov'yov.

Our research interests cover a broad range of questions on theory of biomolecules and smart inorganic materials. Of particular interest are those biological processes that trigger energy conversion into forms that are usable for chemical transformations and are quantum mechanical in nature. Such processes involve chemical reactions, light absorption, formation of excited electronic states, transfer of excitation energy, and transfer of electrons and protons in chemical processes. Equally challenging are problems in nanophysics which focus on potential applications in nano- technology, material science and medicine.


Smell, or olfaction, endows animals and people with the ability to detect and distinguish different scents through volatile odorant compounds. Although, the five basic senses are believed to be well characterized, remarkably the fundamental mechanism of olfaction is still debated. The mainstream explanation of smell is based on recognition of the odorant molecules through characteristics of their surface, e.g., shape, but certain experiments suggest that such recognition is complemented by recognition of vibrational modes. As we have recently reported, according to the latter suggestion, an olfactory receptor may be activated by electron transfer assisted through odorant vibrational excitation.

  1. Gesa Lüdemann, Ilia A. Solov'yov, Tomás Kubar, Marcus Elstner. Solvent driving force ensures fast formation of a persistent and well-separated radical pair in plant cryptochrome, Journal of the American Chemical Society 137 pp.1147-1156 (2015).
  2. Angela M. Barragan, Antony R. Crofts, Klaus Schulten, Ilia A. Solov'yov. Identification of Ubiquinol Binding Motifs at the Qo-Site of the Cytochrome bc1 Complex, Journal of Physical Chemistry B 119 pp.433-447 (2015). Paper selected for a cover
  3. Mikhail Panshenskov, Ilia A. Solov'yov, Andrey V. Solov'yov. Efficient 3D Kinetic Monte Carlo Method for Modeling of Molecular Structure and Dynamics, Journal of Computational Chemistry 35 pp.1317-1329 (2014). Paper selected for a cover