Biochemical Implications of
Capacitive Antennas w/Resonators)
Molecular Coupled Oscillators
Nearfield quantum field resonances in proteins? Biomolecules as radio
coils! Secure radio?
stereochem forces? Perhaps a wifi-network nervous
system for Paramecium?
William Beaty 2001
The following musings and rants grew out of an interesting
concept which appeared spontaneously in my head back in late 1999. What
if all atoms are surrounded by intense AC electromagnetic fields?
physics community tends not to think in these terms. We imagine that,
since atoms don't emit EM waves constantly, therefore there can be no AC
fields in the nearfield regions of atoms. But what if we're wrong? What
if the e-fields of individual electrons in the shells are producing
fields surrounding atoms? What if every atom produces intense
non-radiative EM fields? If so, then we should expect to find many
odd effects within 7000 angstrom distance surrounding
single atoms in a gas, as well as much wider extending fields surrounding
molecules and surrounding the surfaces of a solid.
Rather than the
few-angstrom coupling of covalent and H bonds, there would be an extensive
set of interesting effects which reach outwards to 100X and 1000X
distances beyond chemical bond lengths. Such phenomena would tend to
be collected under the heading
"induced dipole forces," or "van der Waals coupling," or "resonant
electron tunneling." (In other words,
while a lone He atom might have a perfectly spherical electron cloud, a He
would exhibit fast-orbiting electrons and associated AC e-fields
whenever it approaches within few 1000A of other matter.)
> If light was EM waves only, and photons didn't exist, and if molecules
> are quantized resonant circuits (creating the illusion of photon
> emission/absorption) ...then a light-emitting molecule sends out a
> single frequency of EM waves, and the molecules in your retina will
> interact resonantly to strongly absorb that frequency.
On Thu, 4 Jan 2001, Dustin Soodak wrote:
> But this would imply that if you took a light-bulb and gave it a modest
> velocity away from you(faster than the speeds of any of the individual
> molecules in the light bulb), you would no longer see it!
I see that I have to expand my thinking. Perfect oscillators with
zero linewidth (not even phase noise) certainly would become invisible to
absorbers if there was any doppler shift going on. What about hot
filaments? Well, since "photonless" physics is just classical physics,
the explanation for the above must already be in the textbooks.
Because an incandescent bulb is not like a neon sign, the tungsten atoms
hot filament don't emit the tungsten line spectrum. Instead, they
couple together and form complicated 3D "collective oscillators" where the
frequency depends on the coupling between atoms (like the QM-textbook
example of a shoebox filled with bells, as opposed to individual bells
hanging in space and ringing.) All the crazy, time-varying coupling inside
the light bulb filament causes its oscillators transmit "white light". A
distant single atom with zero linewidth would still "see" this light every
time the frequency swept across the atom's absorption freq. A distant
collection of molecules (such as a hunk of tungsten) would also "see" this
light (and become heated) whenever one of the collective
patterns of the light bulb happened to hit one of the the collective
multi-line absorption patterns of the distant cold tungsten metal. Since
so many of these exist, absorption by the tungsten would have very high
In conventional terms, the light bulb would shift frequency to "become
invisible" only if it
was moving at a relativistic velocity, so that its thermal spectrum moved
down into radio waves, or up into x-rays, so that distant solid materials
no longer interacted.
Multi-peaked crystal radio
But now we're talking about something very cool: collective
frequency patterns of groups of coupled oscillators. This is hidden
within QM physics, inside quantum field theory and the wave-functions in
Solid State statistical concepts (Fermi surface and similar stuff.) But
if we ignore the usual textbook treatment and instead view atoms as being
electrical resonantors or individual "crystal radios", something extremely
interesting is revealed. It's something that's not explicitly in any
physics textbook, as far as I know. It has direct engineering
applications. Check it out:
Single atoms are obviously analogous to conventional radio
transmitters and receivers: if their tuning doesn't match, then the
"receiver" cannot hear the "transmitter".
A molecule would be even more complex. Imagine that the radio transmitter
had five tuning knobs and ten "coupling" knobs, and its signal could only
be strongly received by an identical receiver... and only received if the
knobs on the receiver were set to the exact same setting as those on the
transmitter! Change just one knob setting, and the receiver would only
detect a tiny "off peak" style of nonresonant signal. Instead of having a
single tuning knob, a multiple-coupled-resonator radio would have a
multi-dimensional "secret code" like a combination lock. It would be just
like secure spread-spectrum systems, but this is a naturally-occurring
analog version rather than
digital with microprocessor.
Ah, but groups of coupled atoms are a little bit like spread
spectrum radio transmitters: they give out collections of line-spectra;
multispectral "white light". On the other hand, they are not like
spread-spectrum radio at all, because any fixed group of atoms puts out a
weird multi-peak signal, and a distant but identical group of atoms...
will be resonant, and will receive that strange multi-peak signal
by the resonant-absorption or "energy sucking" resonance effect discussed
Here's the simplified version. Suppose that rather than having two
separate, distant tuned circuits which act as transmitter and receiver,
have resonator pairs at each end of the comm link. Suppose the
"transmitter" is two coupled
oscillators, and puts out a "line splitting" double-peaked spectrum.
The transmitter would have two tuning knobs: a knob to set the
frequency, and a "coupling" knob which sets the distance between the two
spectral peaks. If the "receiver" was identical, then the receiver could
only pick up the transmitter's signal whenever the receiver's tuning
knob AND the coupling knob was set the same as the transmitter's knobs.
It's a radio with two tuning knobs rather than one. And needs a 2D planar
display rather than a conventional frequency display resembling a wooden
Or another way to say it: in terms of frequency space, transmitters and
receivers would possess complicated "virtual shapes," and could only
communicate when the receiver's "shape" matched that of the transmitter.
I suspect that this is what N. Tesla was talking about when he claimed to
have an "unbreakable" and "non-interferable" radio cryptography system
back at the turn of the century. A row of Tesla coils wound on the same
cylinder, but each with its own tuning knob, should behave as described
above. (Did Tesla ever talk of such a thing?!) It's a molecular-analogy
radio system. The five tuning knobs mentioned above correspond to the
atoms in a five-atom molecule.
But any EM receiver would "hear" the signal at least partially, so how can
this allow secure transmissions? Ah, but normal receivers aren't
in this odd way. Normal receivers might sense the existence of the
signal as noise, yet be unable to decode it. Suppose a knob on the
transmitter is changed back and forth. All the spectral lines shift
slightly in various ways. Then the multi-peak receiver's
resonance with the transmitted signal will be greatly spoiled,
3rd-party listeners won't detect any obvious change because the transmited
signal still resembles the same pink noise. We can send a sort of "FM"
modulation to which a multi-peak receiver responds strongly, while a
normal single-resonator receiver won't even notice the modulation. For a
secure transmitter, use fifty coupled oscillators and hundreds of
coupling adjustments, then tune an identical receiver to the same pattern
(so the receiver is in "bizarro-resonance" with the transmitter.) Now
transmit a continuous signal. I believe such a receiver will respond very
strongly, just like the "energy sucking" mode of a crystal radio's
resonator. Next, modulate the transmitter by varying one or more of the
transmitter adjustments slightly, and the overall amplitude of the signal
received by the receiver will vary enormously. You can communicate via a
sort of "FM radio" effect. But anyone who tries to listen in will hear
nothing but constant unmodulated "thermal noise spectrum."
This is "geometrical" tuning, where the "virtual shape" of the receiver
must match the "virtual shape" of the transmitter, and where similar
"shapes" can communicate by a nasty-complicated signal which looks like
plain old wideband noise. Sounds more like Sympathetic Magic than
Here's an added thought (Dec 2005.) Throw a small bit of nonlinearity
into both transmitter and receiver, and then the multi-peak transmitted
spectrum will fill with Fractals (the waveform will become Deterministic
Chaos rather than just narrowband noise.) And the transmitter and
receiver will still lock together as the transmitted Chaos signal causes
the receiver's own Chaos to become synched coherently. The transmitter
and receiver would have to have the same nonlinear elements in the same
spot in their circuits. Communication by synchronized chaos, eh?
If you think THAT's cool, then how about this: molecules which can sense
each other at a distance. A programmable Van der Waals force.
Forces between adjacent crystal radios
Go back to the crystal radios: hang two identical crystal radios on the
ends of long threads, then "illuminate" them with a transmitter. They
will resonate and therefore oscillate strongly. But the AC magnetic field
surrounding one crystal radio's inductor "illuminates" the other radio's
inductor. This isn't radio broadcasting, this is adjacent transformer
the two resonators are weakly coupled, their fields are
identical in phase, so this will cause "DC" physical forces to arise
between the floating radios. Do they attract each other? Repel? Repel
first, then rotate until they start attracting? I'll have to try it and
see. If they attract, then boy do I ever have something cool on my hands.
If the two crystal radios are pulled together, yet when they are detuned,
the attraction force turns from DC to AC (and weakens or vanishes...) then
we have an analogy for atomic bonding. Atomic bonding without covalent
electron sharing?!!! We also have an electromagnetic analogy for
stereochemical key/lock bonding in biological molecules, where the "key"
is electromagnetically attracted by the "lock" from quite a distance away
(from at least a quarter wavelength distance at the multipeak IR line
spectrum,) but this only happens
if the common bizarro-resonance exists. (Just how ARE those ribosomes
to pull in the T-RNA units to assemble proteins at a rate of hundreds of
Hz? How do the ribosomes find the distant nuclear membrane pores? If the
ribosome can electromagnetically yank the next required amino acid into
navigate itself to a membrane pore ~100nM distant, then it
doesn't have to wait for random diffusion to try all possible combinations
of nearby "keys" in the waiting "lock."
Molecular "locks" which attract their matched "keys"
In the above, by "resonance", I don't mean spectrum lines, I mean
complicated spectrum bands, bands with identical hidden dynamical
substructures; I mean the weird sort of resonance that occurs between two
distant clusters of coupled oscillators which have identical patterns of
resonance frequencies and coupling. It's an electromagnetic version of
atomic bonding force, but where one molecule can yank in a desired distant
molecule which has the matching spectrum-peak code. A radio transmitter
which physically attracts distant radios, dragging them in, but only if
they're tuned to receive the transmissions.
I just about soiled myself when this idea appeared in my head a few months
But it was too big for my brain, so I forgot all about it until now.
It's like trying to recall a dream upon waking.
Now visualise two clusters of identical coupled oscillators which are
being illuminated by infrared thermal white noise from the environment.
(At the nano-scale, this illumination might also be from quantum
uncertainty, or basically the virtual particle flux which creates the
Casmir force.) If the two distant groups of oscillators are in close
proximity, closer than a quarter-wavelength, then the EM white noise will
simultaneously "twang" both molecules in phase. As a result, their
synchroniced AC fields will cause both clusters to pull upon each
other (or perhaps push?) If these "oscillators" are actually the active
sites of two separate biomolecules, then maybe I've just solved the great
riddle of how the "keys" can find the "locks" over relatively great
distances in biochemistry, find each other despite the immense jostling of
thermal motion. The molecules are like crypto-coded AC electromagnet
coils, where the complicated non-repeating fields vary in synch, and where
the "electromagnets" attract each other only if the "codes" being
broadcast by each "magnet" are identical.
Is this cool or what?!!! Hmmm, not enough exclamation points. Try
!!!!!!!!!!! instead. :) And not only could biology be using this for
selective bonding, as with ribosome operations, biology might also stumble
upon it as a method for *communication* between distant molecules without
needing any nerve-fiber cables. The "cables" would be invisible
couplings in the Casmir force or perhaps in the thermal infrared frequency
band, like a wireless LAN network. Unbeknownst to anyone, proteins might
be programmably attracting/repelling each other, or might form interacting
electronic components without wires between them. Perhaps globs of
molecules might even function as
room-temperature quantum computer arrays with an "invisible EM nervous
system" connecting them. If this is true, then single cells or even
biological tissues become like a "brain-stuff" made out of Cray
Supercomputers, and maybe Amoebas and Paramecia and neuron-lacking plant
life are all just as intelligent as flatworms, cockroaches and
But maybe my dangling crystal radios always repel each other, and my
analogy is all wrong. Maybe van der Waals force, though definitely
long-range over 100s of nM scale, is just a boring feeble thing, and
contains no hidden discoveries.
> The idea about photons not really existing except as waves is a fairly
> accurate conceptual tool though.
> I've actually seen a similar idea in solid-state physics: The
> transmission of sound can be modelled by considering each atom to be a
> simple harmonic oscillator(like a pendulum) that is weakly connected to
> its neighbors.
Bingo! In classical physics, that's called "flow of heat energy." In QM,
it's "acoustic mode thermal radiation" (as opposed to IR light.) And
phonons as quantized acoustic frequencies is not conceptually different
than ignoreing photons and instead seeing them as quantized IR light
frequencies emitted by hot matter.
> If one atom has a certain amount of vibrational energy, it will
> transfer this energy to its neighbors in discrete units (this
> conclusion came from actual mathematical proof as opposed to idle
> speculation). For this reason, they coined the term "phonon" which is
> just the audio equivalent of a photon. In one lecture I attended, the
> professor demonstrated this with an apparatus that consisted of a piece
> of string (streched horizontally between a couple of poles) from which
> he hung two pendulums. He pushed one to give it some energy and after a
> few seconds it (relatively)suddenly stopped as all of its energy was
> transferred to its neighbor.
Yes! And then the energy in the neighbor goes back again. And then goes
the the second one again. Repeat. This gives a
double-peaked spectrum, where the difference between the two frequency
peaks is the same as the "sloshing" frequency of the energy going back and
forth between the two penduluma. It's called "frequency" or "line
coupled oscillators, since pairs of widely separated (non-coupled)
oscillators can share a single frequency, but closely-spaced oscillators
cannot. Huh. Maybe the Pauli Exclusion principle is nothing but a
renamed version of electromagnetic line splitting? (!!!!!!!!!!!)
If two classical LCR oscillators approach each other so that their
coupling increases, then two different energy levels arise like magic.
If you have a group of coupled oscillators, they will form a collection of
emission lines, a "frequency band" just like the electron levels and the
infrared spectra of solid matter. If they repel when close but attract
when distant, then we even have a model for chemical bonds having a
bonding distance predicted via calculation.
> I'm suprised that this example isn't given as an explanation of
> wave/particle duality in Q.M. especially since this concept is regularly
> applied in solid state physics. One professor I talked to seemed to see
> no difference between the reason for the "existence" of phonons and
> photons. I didn't quite believe it, though, until I read your article,
> since the normal way Q.M. is taught makes you think that photons are
> some sort of fundamental particle.
That's it exactly. Many textbooks still teach us that photons are "real",
as if photons were like tiny well-localized bullets or billiard balls.
Their quantum-mechanical "unreality" is only applied in the more advanced
classroom like a conceptual coat of paint. And it's not a student
mistake, even the textbook authors and educators seem to mostly think in
these non-QM "billiard ball" terms. But in fact, the physics is "nothing
but paint" and there are no localized billiard balls underneath. Photons
are not particles in the billiard-ball sense. They are quanta of Gauge
fields. The fields are far more real than the "photons."
> I've also seen the idea of atoms absorbing energy by emitting waves that
> partly cancelled out the incoming waves but the description in class was
> fairly confusing and not detailed enough to give an explanation for what
> caused the atoms to emmit the cancellation waves in the first place.
> It was also stated that this was just the classical E.M. theory. In
> fact, when I read you "energy suction" series I suddenly realized that I
> had never actually seen an official explanation of how atoms emit and
> absorb photons (this after being a physics major for 4 years!). Sure
> they teach you how to calculate the absorbsion and emission
> lines(frequencies) but the actual process seemed to be taken as an
> axiom (the atom CAN emit and absorb at an energy, E (which means
> frequency E/h), therefore it DOES). One of these days I am going to
> corner a physics professor and not give up until I get a straight
Heh. Be careful. In rare cases that's the same as penetrating the
of a lunatic. They'll erect their system of Denial. This might seem
like paranoia, but my experience on various
physics forums shows that even screaming
rage should not be a surprise. All the stories about "backstabbing
academic politics" are no joke. After years of hearing about such things,
I got a chance to witness it first-hand. It really exists. Whenever
academic reputation (and especially self-image) is concerned, the physics
truth becomes very very secondary as compared to the need to silence any
voice which threatens to shatter their whole carefully-cultivated
conviction of self-importance. Once a person thinks that they're an
expert, they have to attack any radical new ideas which call their
expertise into question. The really new ideas can destroy careers,
or even worse, can threaten a deeply held belief. Better find a HUMBLE
physics teacher who still considers himself to be a "mere student." I've
met some of the opposite type, the self-nominated experts. Steer
carefully away from them. They're pure poison.
Jamie C. sends this:
BioEssays (Nov 2000) 22.11 pp1018-1023. "Random walks and cell size",
Agutter PS and Wheatley DN
"The belief that diffusion can explain many aspects of intracellular
movement is no longer tenable, since classical (Fickian) diffusion
theory cannot strictly apply to conditions withing the cell as we
currently understand them. Yet simple diffusion is still often invoked,
or frequently assumed, to explain intracellular transport ... The
extensive evidence against the diffusion theory will be discussed here
and an alternative viewpoint will be presented."
Diffusion Theory in Biology: A Relic of Mechanistic Materialism
Agutter, Malone, & Wheatley,
Journal of the History of Biology 33: 71-111, 2000.
Cytoplasmic Transport of Lipids
Cellular Microtransport Processes
The refs above are interesting because they show that for decades the
biochem community was wrongly assuming that biomolecules can find each
other by diffusion; just by trying all possible positions at a high rate.
This isn't true, and we now know that filaments in the cytoplasm act like
an internal "railroad" for moving proteins around. Therefore, if the
existence of such a necessary "transport force" was unsuspected for
there could easily be other exotic forces hiding within cells, forces
which, like the "railroad," have always been ignored and dismissed as
mere diffusion or uninteresting VanderWaals effects.