Using coherence to enhance function in chemical and biophysical systems

Nature. 2017 Mar 29;543(7647):647-656. doi: 10.1038/nature21425.


Coherence phenomena arise from interference, or the addition, of wave-like amplitudes with fixed phase differences. Although coherence has been shown to yield transformative ways for improving function, advances have been confined to pristine matter and coherence was considered fragile. However, recent evidence of coherence in chemical and biological systems suggests that the phenomena are robust and can survive in the face of disorder and noise. Here we survey the state of recent discoveries, present viewpoints that suggest that coherence can be used in complex chemical systems, and discuss the role of coherence as a design element in realizing function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biophysics*
  • Electrons
  • Energy Transfer
  • Metals / chemistry
  • Models, Biological*
  • Models, Chemical*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Motion
  • Quantum Theory
  • Spectrum Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Vibration


  • Metals