Since clathrin is a natural gatekeeper in the body, it can readily access most human cells, even safely entering the brain, which normally prevents large molecule drugs from entering.
While researching clathrin for medical applications, ExQor discovered that the material exhibits quantum properties useful for biocomputing applications, including nanoscale lasing.
"When we were first developing the clathrin asymmetric resonant cavity, or ARC, we could not find any other research into lasing at scales as small as ours--below 100 nanometers," said Vitaliano. "Most scientists at the time believed that structures at that scale could not support lasing, but now we know it can using cavity quantum electrodynamics."
The nano-lasing property will initially be used in energy applications to produce self-generated light to prevent the buildup of industrial biofilm by killing the culprit organisms. Another potential application is nanoscale photonics. The researchers also claim that other quantum computing phenomena, for which ExQor has been granted U.S. patents, will enable novel spin-based, self-assembling nano-electronic devices that could exceed the performance of planned nanoscale devices using traditional inorganic materials.
"Our aspiration is to enable bio-based quantum computing at the nanoscale [level] by using the same completely reversible processes that keep heat to a minimum in living things," said Vitaliano.
The researchers also are investigating intermolecular multiple quantum coherence and intermolecular zero quantum coherence, methods currently used to enhance the contrast of conventional magnetic resonance imaging, and as signposts for initiating and controlling quantum effects in the body.