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.


Various life forms possess internal clocks that attune them to the daily rhythm on Earth. A key receptor serving the purpose is a protein called cryptochrome. The name was chosen as the receptor hid for a long time from the instruments of researchers, but today the name seems still appropriate as the physical mechanism of the receptor is shrouded in mystery. Adding to the mystery is an apparent second role of cryptochrome, namely that of a sensor for the Earth' magnetic field, which helps migratory birds in long-range navigation. As we have recently reported, cryptochrome is activated through a photoactivation reaction involving electron transfer, followed by a stabilizing proton transfer, allowing the protein, in principle, to act as a magnetic sensor.

  1. Ilia A. Solov'yov, Tatiana Domratcheva, Klaus Schulten. Separation of photo-induced radical pair in cryptochrome to a functionally critical distance, Scientific Reports 4 pp.3845 (2014).
  2. Ilia A. Solov'yov, Peter J. Hore, Thorsten Ritz, Klaus Schulten. A chemical compass for bird navigation in: Quantum Effects in Biology (eds Masoud Mohseni and Yasser Omar and Greg Engel and Martin B. Plenio), pp.218-236 (Cambridge University Press, 2014).
  3. Ilia A. Solov'yov, Andrey V. Solov'yov, Nouari K\'ebaili, Albert Masson, Catherine Br\'echignac. Thermally induced morphological transition of silver fractals, Physica Status Solidi B pp. (2013).