Quantum optical coherence in cytoskeletal microtubules: implications for brain function

Mari Jibu, Scott Hagan, Stuart R. Hameroff, Karl H. Pribram, Kunio Yasue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


'Laser-like,' long-range coherent quantum phenomena may occur biologically within cytoskeletal microtubules. This paper presents a theoretical prediction of the occurrence in biological media of the phenomena which we term 'superradiance' and 'self-induced transparency'. Interactions between the electric dipole field of water molecules confined within the hollow core of microtubules and the quantized electromagnetic radiation field are considered, and microtubules are theorized to play the roles of non-linear coherent optical devices. Superradiance is a specific quantum mechanical ordering phenomenon with characteristic times much shorter than those of thermal interaction. Consequently, optical signalling (and computation) in microtubules would be free from both thermal noise and loss. Superradiant optical computing in networks of microtubules and other cytoskeletal structures may provide a basis for biomolecular cognition and a substrate for consciousness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-209
Number of pages15
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1994


  • Consciousness
  • Microtubules
  • Neural holography
  • Photon coherence
  • Photon signalling network
  • Quantum coherence
  • Quantum theory
  • Spontaneous symmetry breaking
  • Water molecules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Applied Mathematics


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