Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Is smell a quantum effect?

Abstract:
For better or for worse, most of us have our sense of smell working hard every second, every hour and every day - whether or not we are particularly conscious of it. We constantly use, and perhaps take for granted, this sensory equipment. We still do not know how smell works. This is in spite of revolutionary work by Buck and Axel in 2004 (for which they won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine) that determined what type of receptors the olfactory receptors are and how they are organized.

Is smell a quantum effect?

London, UK | Posted on March 28th, 2011

In a recent publication for the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, Jennifer Brookes discusses the current condition for theories of signal transduction in olfaction. One theory based on Luca Turin's hypothesis from 1996, holds promise; that an odorant's quantized vibrational mode (a phonon) may facilitate electron tunnelling which constitutes the recognition event in the nose. The novel mechanism is explored and explained.

Controversy still surrounds the conception that humans may ‘smell' vibrations - that smell is a spectral sense - analogous to seeing and hearing. This article clarifies that the mechanism is indeed physically feasible and proposes ways to quantize scent. The philosophy of the article emphasises testing and developing new ideas, particularly quantum ideas, in the context of molecular recognition in biology, with the aim of answering some interesting scientific questions or at least generating new ones!

This work has been published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Visions of the future for the Royal Society's 350th anniversary year (Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 2010 368, 3491-3502)

####

For more information, please click here

Copyright © London Centre for Nanotechnology

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Journal link:

Related News Press

News and information

A nano-roundabout for light December 10th, 2016

Keeping electric car design on the right road: A closer look at the life-cycle impacts of lithium-ion batteries and proton exchange membrane fuel cells December 9th, 2016

Further improvement of qubit lifetime for quantum computers: New technique removes quasiparticles from superconducting quantum circuits December 9th, 2016

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D: Up-close, real-time, chemical-sensitive 3-D imaging offers clues for reducing cost/improving performance of catalysts for fuel-cell-powered vehicles and other applications December 8th, 2016

Exotic insulator may hold clue to key mystery of modern physics: Johns Hopkins-led research shows material living between classical and quantum worlds December 8th, 2016

Physics

Further improvement of qubit lifetime for quantum computers: New technique removes quasiparticles from superconducting quantum circuits December 9th, 2016

Discoveries

A nano-roundabout for light December 10th, 2016

Keeping electric car design on the right road: A closer look at the life-cycle impacts of lithium-ion batteries and proton exchange membrane fuel cells December 9th, 2016

Further improvement of qubit lifetime for quantum computers: New technique removes quasiparticles from superconducting quantum circuits December 9th, 2016

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D: Up-close, real-time, chemical-sensitive 3-D imaging offers clues for reducing cost/improving performance of catalysts for fuel-cell-powered vehicles and other applications December 8th, 2016

Announcements

A nano-roundabout for light December 10th, 2016

Keeping electric car design on the right road: A closer look at the life-cycle impacts of lithium-ion batteries and proton exchange membrane fuel cells December 9th, 2016

Further improvement of qubit lifetime for quantum computers: New technique removes quasiparticles from superconducting quantum circuits December 9th, 2016

Chemical trickery corrals 'hyperactive' metal-oxide cluster December 8th, 2016

Quantum nanoscience

Physicists decipher electronic properties of materials in work that may change transistors December 6th, 2016

Shape matters when light meets atom: Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices December 4th, 2016

Trickling electrons: Close to absolute zero, the particles exhibit their quantum nature November 10th, 2016

Scientists set traps for atoms with single-particle precision: Technique may enable large-scale atom arrays for quantum computing November 7th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project