There is an increasing body of evidence that quantum mechanical behavior plays non-trivial roles in certain biological functions. Examples range from photosynthesis in plants to magnetoreception in animals. Incorporating quantum and other non-classical behaviors found in living systems opens the possibility of creating novel, non-traditional biosensing technologies that can sense beyond our current detection capabilities to monitor our surroundings. Johns Hopkins University (with support from also the Air Force Office of Scientific Research) is to convene a 2-day workshop entitled "Getting a Deeper Sense for Non-Classical Sensing", which will explore the opportunities and challenges of this nascent field. This workshop is a follow up to the Non-Classical Behaviors in Biological Functions: Potential for Smart Sensing Workshop held Arlington, VA on April 12-13, 2018. The findings of the workshop will be disseminated and accessible to the public.

Research in sensor technology has been long focused on transduction platforms based on "classical" chemical, electromagnetic, and mechanical modalities. Despite the fact that many of these sensor platforms have been successfully deployed, alternatives sensors systems based on non-classical (e.g., quantum) modalities should be explored and developed. The exploration at the intersection of non-classical behavior in biology and smart sensing can be used to understand new phenomena in nature as well as offer new opportunities for monitoring living system interactions with its environment. It is, thus, highly desired to have a more interactive discussion on integrative quantum and other non-classical phenomena in biology and smart sensing. The overarching goals of this workshop are to assemble a group of diverse, world-class scientific leaders to: (1) review the progress to date in the field; (2) explore advanced tools and techniques need to identify novel quantum biology behavior and other non-classical phenomena; (3) identify challenges and potential approaches for the incorporation of non-classical behavior appearing in smart sensors; and (4) develop a community to share ideas, resources, and technologies to address challenges identified through the workshop as well as to educate and train the next generation of researchers in this area. Led by leading scholars and researchers, the workshop consists of a series of panels (invited short presentations) followed by in-depth discussions with all the participants. The output will be a workshop report that will be accessible to the public on a website and as a published report. While there has been increasing number of workshops and symposia in quantum biology, the proposed workshop probes more deeply into issues relating toward the implementation of measuring/detecting such quantum phenomena in biology. We expect that this workshop will initiate and stimulate the discussion on integrating quantum and other non-classical effects in biology with smart sensing and initiating research toward potential impactful and timely quantum technology needs.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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Johns Hopkins University
United States
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