This question is related to Can the theory of quantum computation assist in the miniaturization of transistors? and Is Quantum Biocomputing ahead of us?

About 10 years ago, several papers discussed the environment-assisted quantum walks in photosynthetic energy transfer (Mohseni, Rebentrost, Lloyd, Aspuru-Guzik, The Journal of Chemical Physics, 2008) and the dephasing-assisted transport: quantum networks and biomolecules (Plenio, Huelga, New Journal of Physics 2008). One major idea there seems to be that the "environment" (quantum decoherence) assists or optimizes the transport of a signal that is also fundamentally quantum coherent in nature.

My question is: beyond the theoretical interpretation of processes happening in natural systems, have physical processes of this kind already been explored in artificial systems, either as quantum computation (perhaps as quantum-enhanced mixed classical-quantum transistors) or in a quantum simulator? Or, if this has not happened yet, could one in principle do it?

Edit after obtaining an answer: Note the lax sense of optimize above. In a biological rather than mathematical context, optimization needs not be absolute but can refer to any significant improvement, like enzimes have been optimized via evolution to increase the speed of reactions.

  • $\begingroup$ Photosynthesis was also thought to be of kind of Grover search, in which the action of choosing an energy path to reach the reaction core, is a Grover search over the lowest energy levels required to reach the "reaction core", and facilitate photosynthesis. $\endgroup$ – user3483902 Apr 21 '18 at 18:05
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    $\begingroup$ @user3483902 from what i understand the above paper or a related paper (I cannot recall right now) actually showed that this process is not accurately described by a Grover search. $\endgroup$ – TanMath Apr 24 '18 at 3:43
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    $\begingroup$ @TanMath See "nature.com/articles/446740a" Nature article from 2007 , or lov k Grovers' own slides; cs.indiana.edu/~dgerman/grover.ppt" citing a Fleming, about applications of Quantum search to Photosynthesis, note the years in these articles are dates 2007-2008, until FMO ideas took root - and other explanations came to be offered about 100% efficiency of photosynthesis. For further explanations "physicsworld.com/a/… from physiscsworld. $\endgroup$ – user3483902 Apr 24 '18 at 4:28
  • $\begingroup$ @user3483902 i know it was a hypothesis before, but i think the community is not so sure now... $\endgroup$ – TanMath Apr 24 '18 at 4:29
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    $\begingroup$ @TanMath a starting point nevertheless, just to put history behind thoughts of a community, or even communal thought :) $\endgroup$ – user3483902 Apr 24 '18 at 4:36

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