Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches and Lectures


Fano Resonances in the Resonance Raman Spectra of Tubulin and Microtubules Reveals Active Quantum Effects

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Science & Roger Penrose Webinar

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Presentation Date


Date Range

2021-08-03 to 2021-08-06


Microtubules are self-assembling biological nanotubes made of the protein tubulin that are essential for cell motility, cell architecture, cell division and intracellular trafficking. The unique mechanical properties of microtubules give rise to a high resilience and stiffness due to their quasi-crystalline helical structure. It has been theorized that this hollow molecular nanostructure may function like a quantum wire where optical transitions can take place, where photo-induced changes in microtubule architecture may be mediated via changes in disulfide or peptide bonds or stimulated by photoexcitation of tryptophan, tyrosine or phenylalanine groups, resulting in subtle protein structural changes owing to alterations in aromatic flexibility. Here we present the Raman scattering spectra of microtubules and its constituent protein tubulin in both dry powdered form and in aqueous solution and determine if molecular bond vibrations show active Fano resonances which are indicative of quantum coupling between discrete phonon vibrational states and continuous excitonic many-body spectra.