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by Gerald Huth on January 15, 2011

A  factor  common to plant photosynthesis and to the formation of the visual image in humans is that both interact with external external reality through the same  two  specific narrow light wavelengths. Both the chloroplast organelle of the green plant life of our environment and the response of  the human visual system as explained in this work use identical wavelengths  - 700 and 400 nanometers.

I propose that the same spatial nano-antenna light interaction structures  are common to both abut that these are simply arranged in different ways  to effect the two processes of efficient light collection or formation of a two dimensional image.

Thus that both photosensitive systems are composed of differently arrayed  fundamental 700 and 400 nanometer-sensitive nano-antenna lengths.

In plant photosynthesis these two nano-antenna structures are arrayed in massive parallel fashion as would logically follow from the requirement for  collection of solar energy.   As I have proposed in the past  these two nano-antennas correspond to the granal and stromal structures of the light sensitive chloroplast organelle. It has long been known that the two wavelengths predominate in the  light absorptive properties of this organelle but, the mechanism invoked has always assumed that “photons interact with differing chlorophyll pigments…etc.”.This is the same fundamental interaction that is invoked to explain light interaction with the retina disregarding the alternative wave nature of electromagnetic radiation.

It occurred to me after becoming interested in the antenna concept and the retina of the eye that a correspondance could be made between the two granal and stromal separations of the photosynthetic organelle and the two light absorption peaks attributed to chlorophyll pigments. I used  the following figure to illustrate this:

NOTE: There are a number of considerations here. 1.) the thin section of organelle shown in the figure is sliced by  freeze drying and the other electron microscopic sample preparation  steps.  It then represents a distorted view of what, in the living state, was a  far more structurally perfect ordering of the grana and stroma separations.  I have made this same point about distorted electron microscopic views of retinal receptors. The exquisite submicron dimensionality required for the function of nano-antennas requires the dynamic order of the living state (see a previous comment that I have written on this subject). It might be said that the major advance of electron microscopic imaging has obscured the fundamental nature of light interaction! 2.) I attribute the width and positions of these absorption peaks to be an artifact. These measurements were made on photo-active chlorophyll molecules in solution and this could only reflect directionally disordered  nano-antenna structures that would have been more pronounced – and really only truly measurable – in the living state of the  photosensitive system.

ADDED: A recent news release that notes the orientation of “dipole antennas” in the photosynthetic apparatus: Duelling Dipoles: In Search of a New Theory of Photosynthetic Energy Transfer (I would note that the recognition that some 50 or so molecules are involved in the first  stage of light interaction in PS has been known for years. This grouping has been loosely termed “antenna chlorophyll”  not really implying  that antenna physics are involved. It might always have been apparent, however, that any antenna function collects light as a wave)

A bit of text from this link.

“Chemists of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich have refuted a basic postulate of Förster theory, which describes energy transfers between pigment molecules, such as those that underlie photosynthesis. A revised version of the theory could have an impact on the design of optical computers and improve the efficiency of solar cells. Energy transfer between dipoles depends on their orientation,” says Langhals. “When dipoles are orthogonally disposed, no energy transfer should occur. We have now tested this assumption experimentally and, to our surprise, we found that energy is rapidly and very efficiently transferred under these conditions.” In collaboration with international partners, the LMU team now wants to establish a firm experimental basis for the formulation of a new theory of energy transfer. This may well have repercussions for the development of optical computers and might help to enhance the performance of solar cells.”

In contrast to the massive arraying of two nano-antenna structures in photosynthesis , the visual image on the retina is synthesized from a spatial admixture on the retinal surface of these same two nano-antenna structures on the retinal surface.. Nano-antennas are formed in the appositional spaces between receptors of  two diameters. Their response corresponds only to the extremes of  the visual band, i.e., the regions of all-cones or all-rods define the  700 and 400 nanometer absorption limits.

Further, and crucial to the sensation of the hues of color, this admixture geoemtrically results in, as I have noted in my “Rosetta Stone” diagram, a third nano-antenna dimension that geometrically defines the exact middle of the band of wavelengths – or 550 nanometers. This dimensionality serves as a fundamental wavelength reference from which other wavelengths within the visual band are interpolated.

The biological retina ‘decodes’ light wavelength geometrically !

This synthesis of color –  that I now believe  occurs in  the visual cortex of the brain – derives from  the ratio of light interacting on either side of this central geometric wavelength reference point. The outline of this was seen brilliantly  and exactly in the work of Edwin Land ! This wavelength reference is Land’s “fulcrum” !.

Therefore, as I have proposed in this work, only two discrete wavelengths are involved in our visual connection with external reality and the requirements for photosynthesis. This would sem to provide some direct geometric connection between ourselves and the world of green things. It is simply a matter of arraying the same two nano-antenna structures geometrically to effect the desired function – to provide efficient light collection or to form an image.

Why these particular wavelengths?

To quote Einstein again “All is geometry”


I have written previously that I consider the paper by Engel et al  at Berkeley (“Evidence for wavelike energy transfer through quantum coherence in photosynthetic systems”, NATURE, 446, April 2007) to be seminal. Using advanced femtosecond spectrometry methods, this group found coherent oscillations in the femtosecond time regime existing in photosynthetic structures. Following from the above, the massive array of nano-antennas for photosynthetic light collection would appear as an optical “grating” and thus  would result in the time-oscillatory behavior that they observe.


Ojai, CA

1.15.11 (revised 1.18.11)


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