Implications of Biophotons to Consciousness
Institute of Self Organising Systems and Biophysics,
North Eastern Hill University, Shillong 793022, India
International Institute of Biophysics,IIB e.V.,
Raketen Station ,ehemalage,Kapellener Strasse, Neuss D41472, Germany
The different wisdom traditions employ semi-classical framework of
description and describe the Great Chain of being as a holarchy. The properties of the
lowest level and some properties of higher levels of the Great Chain are describable
by the properties ascribed to non-living matter. The indescribable properties may be
considered to constitute the consciousness class of properties. This is an extended
definition for it includes macroscopic properties of living system that requires co-
operative functioning of biomolecules. In particular, it includes biophoton emission.
The experimental evidence is constantly growing for the supposition “A biophoton
signal is a quantum photon signal in a squeezed state”. The supposition brings out the
inadequacies of the semi-classical framework and opens up four new avenues for
explaining the properties of the consciousness class. Firstly, a living system becomes
a macroscopic quantum system possessing counterintuitive non-local holistic
properties. Secondly, the supposition opens up new planes of awareness for
exploration that may make many properties of the consciousness class as quantum
properties of matter. Thirdly, the capability to detect biophoton signals will confer the
power of remote sensing in space and time. Finally, the capability to produce
biophoton signal coded with desired information will confer the power of remote
intervention in a suggestive mode. The examples associated with different avenues
Implications of Biophotons to Consciousness
§1. Introduction: The issues of consciousness and life have remained at the top of
the agenda in art, metaphysics and philosophy for ages. These issues have started
appearing in the agenda of science and technology as well. The philosophers have
struggled with the eternal mystery of consciousness and life for many millennia and
discovered the Great Chain of being and its multi level structure. The Great Chain is
essentially the same in different wisdom traditions
. A minor difference occurs in the
structure because some higher levels are either subdivided or grouped. The Christian
wisdom tradition visualises four levels in the Great Chain. The ordering of these
levels is body-psyche-soul- spirit. The lowest level is of body or matter and has a
special significance because its properties are amenable to scientific investigations.
This level is identical in all wisdom traditions. The properties of higher levels are
incomprehensible in the semi-classical approach employed for description. These
properties are thought to be beyond scientific investigations and are clubbed together
in a special class called consciousness. The semi-classical framework and level
structure of the Great Chain belong to our cultural heritage. The organisation of
various levels is also a part of heritage. It is believed that different levels of the Great
Chain are organised in a holarchy, which means that a higher-level property requires
lower level properties for its description but is not reducible to them. The non-
reducibility of the properties of the consciousness class to properties of matter is the
inherent basis of the organisation of the Great Chain. The advancement of Science is
questioning the validity of the organisation and improving upon the traditional
wisdom. Some properties of the consciousness class are now amenable to scientific
investigation and have become the properties of matter. The shifting of level of these
properties suggests the possibility of the levels of the Great Chain are organised in a
hierarchy and not in a holarchy. A hierarchy of levels means that any property of a
higher level is expressible and reducible to the properties of the lowest level. The
establishment of hierarchy requires many scientific investigations and will take long
time. A milder and pragmatic form of hierarchy is advocated by the concept of
supervenience of levels
, which requires a property of the higher level to be reducible,
in principle, to the properties of the lowest level. The immediate task is to
demonstrate the supervenience of higher levels of the Great Chain and hope that non-
supervening properties of these levels will turn out to be unnecessary cultural baggage
to be discarded.
The problem is how to handle the properties of consciousness class that appear
even in principle non reducible to the properties of matter. There are three approaches
to tackle this problem:
1. Accept that these properties are indeed (and not apparently) not reducible
and hence their explanation requires some grace of supernatural entity.
2. Believe that the non-living matter has some unknown attributes, which
when discovered will explain these properties.
3. Wonder if some incorrect premises were inadvertently made in earlier
attempts to explain these properties.
The first approach negates the efforts made in the shifting the level of some
properties to the matter class. It maintains the old position that the core of
consciousness will remain beyond the reach of Science. It insults Science and is
unpalatable to scientists. The second approach is not likely to be true because of a
very high degree of success of quantum theory in describing all known properties of
matter and the formulism does not have much scope for hidden attributes. The third
approach appears desirable but needs evidence of wrong or forgotten premises. The
evidence is provided by the unusual properties of a purely material system of photons
signal and emitted incessantly by all living systems. A biophoton
signal is a photon signal of biological origin and shows counter intuitive and non-
local features. These features are unexplainable even in principle in the semi-classical
framework of photon emission. But these features become comprehensible in the
. Perhaps, the same trick will work in living systems as well and
some counter intuitive and non-local properties of the consciousness class will
describable as the properties of matter. The ubiquitous association of biophotons with
living systems prompts us to speculate that a living system is a macroscopic quantum
system and its many properties of the consciousness class are consequences of the
incomplete and partial description provided by the semi-classical framework. It
appears that we have identified an incorrect premise as insistence on describing all
observed properties of living systems in the semi-classical framework. The semi-
classical framework succeeds in describing the properties of the matter level and fails
in describing the properties of other levels. It is a neat solution. Let us examine the
evidence of the quantum nature of biophoton signals that is the genesis of speculation.
§2. Hard facts of Biophotons: All living systems continuously emit photons with
many unexpected features. It has not been possible to determine the mechanism and
need of emission. The uncertain situation is acknowledged by adding the prefix “bio”
to photons. The prefix indicates both incomprehensibility of properties and biological
connection. The unexpected features of biophoton signals are routinely measured in
laboratories scattered through out the world. Popp suggested that unexpected features
manifest a special property of living systems. It is called “coherence”. The word
coherence is derived from a Greek word cohere that means to act together. Coherence
of a system therefore, implies that the system has sub units, which act together to
produce one or more observable effects
. The sub units need not be identical and may
not act simultaneously. The concept has been extended to include acts of different
characters by different sub units. Coherence in the extended form is essentially the
observation of correlation of some quantity at different space-time points. The
concept in the extended form was first formulated in the context of photon signals,
where it is classified into two categories-spatial and temporal. The spatial coherence
is detected by measuring the intensity at different spatial locations as in interference
and diffraction experiments, and temporal coherence is detected by measuring the
number of photons at different time in a fixed detector as in single photon counters in
The coherence of photons is also classified by its mechanism. If the
mechanism is identifiable in the semi classical framework e.g. as an arrangement of
paths or a method for transferring information to sub units, then it is called classical
coherence. Its nature is also considered classical and the photon signal can be
described in the semi-classical framework. However, if the mechanism is not so
identifiable e.g. in correlation among events connected by space like separation, then
the coherence is called quantum coherence. The nature of the photon signal showing
quantum coherence is quantum and it is described by a pure quantum state. The semi-
classical framework has to invoke some ad hoc mechanism for information transfer.
The quantum framework does not require any mechanism. It is inherent in the
connectedness of a quantum system. Laser is a well-known example of quantum
coherence. The identification of quantum coherence requires elaborate procedure to
rule out all possible mechanisms of information transfer among cohering sub units.
The clean examples of quantum coherence are the observable effects of correlation
among space like events, which shows up only in the behaviour of conditional
probabilities of photon detection and photo count distribution. The influence of
quantum coherence is more pronounced in weak signals where it is much easier to
identify coherent and incoherent photon signals.
The conditional probability P
(∆,k) of not detecting a subsequent photon in a
small time interval ∆ after the detection of a photon in signal of strength k counts in
time ∆ is the most discriminating probability. It nearly equals to one in weak signals.
The difference from one i.e. [1- P
(∆,k)] , gives the conditional probability of
subsequent photon detection and is measurable by a simple coincidence technique.
The technique directly measures this probability without detecting the outcome of
individual events. The calculated expressions of this probability for different states of
a photon signal are given in many books on quantum optics
. Its limiting value as
k→0 is the same in any pure quantum state of a photon signal. The limiting value for
a classical photon signal in thermal equilibrium is twice of its value in a quantum
state. This behaviour of quantum signals is known as anti bunching of photons. The
probability (1- P
(∆,k)) remains discriminatory for signals with strength k around 1.
The measurements of this probability in this range were used to distinguish between
laser and thermal signals. This probability has been measured in many biophoton
signals as well. The measurements affirm the quantum coherence of biophoton
signals. In one experiment, the probability was measured in a leaf and in a light
emitting diode one after the other for values of ∆ in the range (10µs -10ms). The
choice of ∆ allowed the measurement of probability in different ranges of k varying
from 0.01 to more than 10. The measured values of the probability were nearly
identical in both systems for k>10 but were different for k~ 1. The signal emitted by
the leaf showed photon anti bunching but not by the lamp. The quantum coherence is
observable for a long time in biophoton signals, which implies that a biophoton signal
remains in a pure quantum state for a long time
. It is an unexpected result and it
requires the living system emitting biophoton also remain in a quantum state for a
A non-living system, if prepared in a quantum state, remains in the quantum
state for less than a few milliseconds. The system looses its quantum coherence
because of de-cohering interactions of the environment. This is the reason why a laser
device emits coherent photons only in pulses of small durations. The reason for the
long life of a biophoton emitting living system is still to be discovered, which makes
some people sceptic about the observed quantum nature of biophotons and they prefer
to ignore the consequences of what’s observed in favour of what’s desirable. The
observed result makes a subtle shift in the perspective of a living system by reducing
the mystery of life to the mechanism neutralising de-cohering interactions. A living
system is to be viewed as a material system that retains its quantum nature.
A photon signal contains an imprint of the emitting process and the state of the
emitting system. It retains it for a long time even millions of years. A biophoton
signal is, therefore, a continuous broadcast of the state of the living system. Anyone
with capability and resource can receive the broadcast and learn about the system.
This capability of photon signal is responsible for another set of consciousness
properties depending on information transfer among different systems. Many people
have observed a strong link between biophoton signal and metabolic processes. Even
minute changes in physiological and environmental conditions of the system find a
reflection in its biophoton signal. The properties of biophoton signals are measurable
which means that many qualities of living systems are now measurable. The
investigators of this field consider biophoton emission and life to be two facets of one
coin. The study of one will uncover the mystery and splendour of other.
The observed properties of biophoton signals give indications of the possible
types of quantum state. A remarkable feature of many biophoton signals is the non-
decaying shape of signal i.e. the average intensity remains constant for a long time.
This portion of a biophoton signal is usually called spontaneous biophoton emission.
The constant average intensity is also a characteristic feature of coherent and
. One complex parameter α specifies a coherent state and two
complex parameters α and ξ specify a squeezed state. The formulation and properties
of both states are similar and coherent state is a special case of squeezed state with
ξ=0. We shall, therefore, consider only squeezed states. The two complex parameters
are expressed in terms of four real parameters as
The four real parameters take arbitrary values and specify different squeezed states. A
squeezed represents an interacting photon field. The interaction is of a specific type,
describable by a Hamiltonian quadratic in creation and annihilation operators. The
Hamiltonian determines the evolution of the squeezed state and the values of its four
parameters. The evolution maintains the squeezed nature of the state and many
measurable features of the signal e.g. intensity, and photo count distribution. The
values and constancy of these features can be considered as evidence of a squeezed
state. The observed values of these quantities can be used to determine the four
parameters specifying the squeezed state. It is pointed out that a squeezed state does
not have a classical analogue and so the constancy of signal intensity is a purely
quantum effect. The average number of counts
detected in a measuring interval is
directly related to the signal intensity and is given by rsinhn
+α= in a squeezed
state. The observed constancy of signal intensity, therefore, only means the constancy
of |α| and r. The same intensity signal may represent different squeezed states with a
different photo count distributions
The photo count distribution is a collection of the probabilities of detecting
different numbers of photons in a signal. The probabilities are determined by making
repeated measurements of fixed duration in a signal. The duration of a measurement is
called bin size. The parameters of the squeezed state can be estimated by comparing
the measured and calculated probabilities. The estimations of the parameters were
made in the biophoton signal of a quasi-stable system for 14 different bin sizes
ranging from 50ms to 500ms
. The estimations used the constancy of intensity fix
|α| as a function of r and
. So that, only three parameters r, θ, and φ were estimated
by minimising the sum of the square of differences between observed and calculated
probabilities. The values of parameters were same for different bin sizes. The
biophoton signal of these measurements was emitted by a sample of lichen of species
Parmelia.tinctorum. The sample emits an intense and stable biophoton signal for
many hours. The sample has two easily accessible metabolic states, dry and wet.
These states emit different biophoton signals. The transition between the states is
reversible. The parameters of the squeezed state of biophoton signals emitted in dry
and wet states were different. The estimation of parameters demonstrates the richness
of the structure of a biophoton signal that remains unaltered in this system at least for
the duration of measurements of nearly 9h in either state. It is possible to uncover this
structure in about 10m. It is pointed out that similar structure has been observed in
biophoton signals of many systems where the classical perspective used in the
analysis failed to quantify the structure in a consistent manner. The analysis of the
earlier data based on the quantum perspective would produce a squeezed state
description of biophoton signals. All properties of biophoton signals can be
summarised by the supposition “ A biophoton signal is emitted in a quantum squeezed
state whose four defining parameters are measurable in a small but finite time”. The
supposition implies that inferences based on constant intensity biophoton signals of
the classical type miss out a lot of information and needs revision. It is our contention
that the supposition will shift the properties of the consciousness class into the
properties of matter.
§3.Implications of biophotons to life and consciousness: The supposition has
profound implications for life and consciousness. Let us divide the supposition into
small parts and elaborate the implications of each part. The parts are:
• Biophoton signal is a photon signal in a pure quantum state.
• The quantum state is a squeezed state of light.
• Four parameters specify a squeezed state.
• The parameters take continuous values.
A pure quantum state of biophoton signal implies that the living system emitting it
must be a quantum system and only the quantum framework can provide its correct
description. The semi-classical framework describes a living system as a composite
structure of bio-molecules that maintain separate identity. Its description is partial and
incomplete. It explains only bio-molecule centric properties but fail in the description
of holistic properties that depend on correlation among bio-molecules. It may explain
a few holistic properties after invoking cooperative and coordinated functioning of
bio-molecules caused by some unspecified reason. The bulk of the holistic properties
appear counter intuitive and non-local in character, whose description requires
superluminal communication. The quantum framework does suffer from these
problems as it allows a portion of reality beyond the classical visualisation.
An immediate consequence of quantum nature is many quantum states of a living
system. These states have the same non-living matter but behave differently and emit
different biophoton signals. The states will appear in the semi-classical framework, as
moods of the living system and the connection of states to biophoton signals will be
inexplicable. A biophoton signal is known to change with the mood of a living system
and offers the possibility of measuring the mood. It amounts to squaring a circle and
will shift many properties of the consciousness class into the fold of quantum
properties of living matter.
The metabolic processes can take quantum route, which is probably the reason
behind their efficiency and fast rates of enzymatic reactions. The selection processes
taking place in fundamental biological processes like transcription and protein
synthesis can be quantum, which can provide an explanation
of the basic facts of
genetic code namely 4 types of nucleotide bases and codons of 3 nucleotides coding
for 20 amino acids. The explanation is based on the observation that a state can select
the correct state from 4 states in one matching operation and from 20 states in three
matching operations in quantum selections
. Many properties of biophoton signals
can be explained in a semi classical visualisation of living system as a collage of
intermittent and scintillating quantum patches of bio-molecules.
The formulation of squeezed state can be extended to include time dependent field
life interaction of photon and living system. The resulting solution is time dependent
and depends on intrinsic dynamics and initial conditions. It makes a biophoton signal
situation specific and capable of tracking both physiological and environmental
A squeezed state is a minimum uncertainty state and it transmits information in
almost loss less manner with the speed of light. The information contained in
biophoton signal is accessible from anywhere and is also preserved for posterity.
Anyone with appropriate detector can pick the information from anywhere. It will
confer him with the capability of remote sensing in space and time.
The four parameters of a squeezed state add four new dimensions of knowledge to
fathom. The reality of a living system is much more deeper. The parameters take
values in a continuous range, which gives a biophoton signal immense diversity to
capture the mood of a living system and its working. More investigations are needed
to ascertain how the diversity is reflected in biophoton signals. These investigations
require new models and phenomenology. As an example, the parameter φ has nearly
the same value in biophoton signals emitted by dry and wet states of one sample of
lichen. This is a new aspect of reality that needs exploring.
$4. Possible Scenario: A quantum biophoton signal opens up many other planes of
information, experience and awareness and unlocks many more mysteries of life and
consciousness. It has the potentiality of remote intervention. The potentiality depends
upon the capability to identify a specific biophoton signal in a multitude of signals, to
decipher its information content, to code a biophoton signal and to induce changes in
other systems via biophotonic intervention. These are physical capabilities and any
human being or living system could possess them. A few living systems possess them
and inform us generating measurable response to specific biophoton stimuli e.g. onion
roots, yeast cells and amphibian eggs
. The detection mechanism of these systems
could be holistic and is not only intensity based. Other living systems might also be
sensing some biophoton signals but may not be responding in ways known to us. It is
a lack of communication and may not the lack of detection capability. The detecting
capabilities can legitimise the concept of morphogenic field and its many variants.
One may ask about the capability of a fellow human being that communicates. It
needs an explanation. Perhaps, we do have the innate ability to detect biophoton
signal but we forgot about it while learning how to communicate our experiences.
A newborn child probably has the innate ability to feel the signals received
from sensory channels and biophoton signals. The child does not know how to extract
meaning from these signals; she has to learn it. The signals of the sensory channels
are classical in nature and straightforward to interpret. She is taught the meaning of
these signals and is provided with appropriate fabric for expression. The biophoton
signals are quantum in nature and hence difficult to interpret. No technique of
extracting meaning from a quantum signal is taught. As a result, after an initial
bewilderment, she learns to concentrate on classical sensory signals and filter out
biophoton signals. She starts associating meaning only to classical signals. She and
the society judge her proficiency by the acquired capability to ignore obstructions
caused by biophoton signals. She starts associating biophoton signals with
unnecessary but unavoidable noise. Her innate ability to detect a biophoton signal
remains intact but is brushed aside. She may discover this ability any time and may
start communicating about its efficacy and results to others. It will be a new capability
that will make the invisible visible to her. It will set her apart. The biophoton channel
will connect her to the entire world and she will be in communion with the world.
Using a paradigm of religion, she will become spiritual. The attainment of spirituality
is an important aspiration in all religions. The religions prescribe paths and techniques
to fulfil the aspiration and claim that it will uplift a follower beyond sensory
allurements (caused by sensory detection) and get one connected with the entire
world. Perhaps spirituality amounts to realising the capability to detect and interpret
the quantum state of biophoton signals. Realisation of this capability is not always
relishing. Imagine the horror of a person who come to know about it by chance and
starts observing the fiercely guarded secrets of acquaintances. Even a true narration of
the splendour and beauty of nature observed via biophoton channel will fetch him the
epithet paranormal. He will become nonconformist. The society packs nonconformists
to solitary confinement whether in jail or in jungle.
Quantum detection is a big drain on resources. A single measurement is
sufficient to characterise a classical state while the characterisation of a quantum state
requires many measurements either by a detector or by many detectors. The results of
all measurements need to be compiled and analysed for obtaining the characteristics
of a quantum state. Greater the number of measurements better the characterization.
Since each measurement costs some energy, a reasonable characterisation of a
quantum state is becomes costs a lot of energy. In addition, some energy is also spent
in selecting a specific biophoton signal and focussing on it. All these factors make
quantum detection a big drain on resources. Continuous measurements of quantum
states may strain a system to the point of breakdown. An intelligent living system will
avoid quantum detection and will resort to inferences based on measurements with
classical channels as often as possible. It is a survival strategy.
The capability to detect all biophoton signals confers the power of remote
sensing in space and time. A living system with this capability will get access of the
happenings of living world. It is a passive power in the sense that a living system is
only an observer and cannot influence a happening. The influence emanating from the
quantum nature of its observations is incidental and should be considered passive.
The active power to influence a happening in the classical sense comes only if it
acquires the capability to code biophoton signals with the desired information. A
coded biophoton signal could trigger a response in some other system. It is remote
intervention but is limited to a suggestive mode because the trigger sent may not elicit
the requisite response. Both of these capabilities are at the root of hitherto bewildering
behaviour of mind observed in cognition, perception, memory transcendence,
paranormal perception, remote sensing and remote healing. The occurrences of these
phenomena suggest that a human being can indeed acquire both these capabilities.
Whether prayer, meditation, breathing exercises and drugs help in acquiring these
capabilities is now a matter of scientific investigations through biophotonic
techniques. So is the truth behind various alternative therapies. The objective of
scientific investigations in the biophoton era is not to seek an explanation of
consciousness but to search for methods of navigating, altering and extending it. We
shall not be content with the supervenence but shall try to establish the hierarchical
organisation of the Great Chain of being.
I am grateful to Prof. Fritz A. Popp whose biophoton field has triggered the eruption
of these immature ideas.
1. Wilber K.: http://www.wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos.
2. Chalmers D.: The Conscious Mind, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
3. Popp, F.A. (1992): Some Essential Questions of Biophoton Research and
Probable Answers. In Recent Advances in Biophoton Research and its
Applications, Popp F.A., Li, K.H. and Gu, Q. (eds.), World Scientific, Singapore,
4. Bajpai, R.P. (2003): The Physical Basis of Life. In Integrative Biophysics,
Popp,F.A. and Beloussov,L. (eds.), Kluwer Academic Publishers,439-465.
5. Bajpai, R.P. (2003): Quantum Coherence of Biophotons and Living Systems, Ind.
Jour. Exp. Bio. 41,514-527.
6. Walls, D.F. and Milburn, G.J. (1994) Quantum Optics. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
7. Orszag,M.(200): Quantum Optics. Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, 44.
8. Bajpai R.P. (1999) Coherent Nature of the radiation emitted in delayed
luminescence of leaves. Jour. Theo. Bio. 198, 287-299.
9. Yuen,H.P.(1976): Two Photon Coherent States of Radiation Field, Phys.
10. Bajpai, R.P. (2003): Biophotons of a Lichen Species Parmelia.Tinctorum, Ind.
Jour. Exp. Bio. 41,403-410.
11. Patel A. (2000) Quantum Algorithms and the Genetic Code.
12. Grover L. (2001) Searching with Quantum Computers Dr. Dobb's Journal.April
2001. (also http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/quant-ph/ 95122032 and Grover, L. K. "From
Schrodinger's Equation to the Quantum Search Algorithm, http:// www.bell-
13. Bajpai, R.P., Kumar S. and Sivadasan, V.A (1998) Biophoton emission in the
evolution of a squeezed state of frequency stable damped oscillator. Applied
Mathematics and Computation 93, 277-288.
14. Beloussov,L.,Burlakov,A.B. and Louchinskaia, N.N.(2003): Biophotonic Patterns
of Optical Interactions between Fish Eggs and Embryos, Ind. Jour. Exp. Bio.
15. Roy Ascott (1999): Reframing Consciousness, Intellect Books, U.K.
Lichen species used was Parmelina. Wallichiana. It was collected in Shillong, India in the first week
of August 2003 and kept in a polythene bag. The measurements were made on August 30, 2003.
A sample of lichen emits stable biophoton signal for many hours. The signal is different in its dry and
wet states. The transition between dry and wet states is reversible and externally controlled.
The sample was made wet by soaking with water 10m before the experiment.
The temperature of the sample chamber was 20
C and outside probably 25
Before Energization: PROTOCOL
1.No measurements for 2m after the placing the sample in a quartz cuvette in the chamber.
2.1000 successive measurements of photo counts in intervals of 50ms (Spontaneous signal or
3.Excitation of the sample by white light for 5s
4. 1000 successive measurements of photo counts in intervals of 50ms (Stimulated emission I)
5. Pause of 5m
6. Excitation of the sample by white light for 5s.
7. 1000 successive measurements of photo counts in intervals of 50ms (Simulated emission II)
Sample holder was taken out and the sample was energized from a distance of around
5cm for 5m by Prof.Traian Stanciulescu , Professor of Philosophy in a Romanian
University and then the sample holder was placed in side the chamber to repeat the
measurements following the above protocol.
1. Spontaneous signals II and I are nearly identical (both in pre and post-energized measurements).
2. Energization changes biophoton signal :Both Spontaneous and stimulated signals are different in
pre and post-energized measurements. It is possible to attribute the change in spontaneous
emission to the change in back ground coming from exposure to light during energization.
3. The difference in the stimulated signal is in its initial value (counts in the first bin of 50ms ) and
probably not in decay shape.
4. Fig1 gives background , Fig2 gives Stim I and Fig2 gives StimII obtained BEFORE and AFTER
For further clarification of measuring procedure R.P.Bajpai firstname.lastname@example.org
and for energization Prof. T. Stanciulescu email@example.com