Molecular quantum robotics: particle and wave solutions, illustrated by “leg-over-leg” walking along microtubules

  • Paul Levi
  • Published 2015 in Front. Neurorobot.


Remarkable biological examples of molecular robots are the proteins kinesin-1 and dynein, which move and transport cargo down microtubule "highways," e.g., of the axon, to final nerve nodes or along dendrites. They convert the energy of ATP hydrolysis into mechanical forces and can thereby push them forwards or backwards step by step. Such mechano-chemical cycles that generate conformal changes are essential for transport on all different types of substrate lanes. The step length of an individual molecular robot is a matter of nanometers but the dynamics of each individual step cannot be predicted with certainty (as it is a random process). Hence, our proposal is to involve the methods of quantum field theory (QFT) to describe an overall reliable, multi-robot system that is composed of a huge set of unreliable, local elements. The methods of QFT deliver techniques that are also computationally demanding to synchronize the motion of these molecular robots on one substrate lane as well as across lanes. Three different challenging types of solutions are elaborated. The impact solution reflects the particle point of view; the two remaining solutions are wave based. The second solution outlines coherent robot motions on different lanes. The third solution describes running waves. Experimental investigations are needed to clarify under which biological conditions such different solutions occur. Moreover, such a nano-chemical system can be stimulated by external signals, and this opens a new, hybrid approach to analyze and control the combined system of robots and microtubules externally. Such a method offers the chance to detect mal-functions of the biological system.

DOI: 10.3389/fnbot.2015.00002

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@inproceedings{Levi2015MolecularQR, title={Molecular quantum robotics: particle and wave solutions, illustrated by “leg-over-leg” walking along microtubules}, author={Paul Levi}, booktitle={Front. Neurorobot.}, year={2015} }