Comparison of various types of coherence and emergent coherent systems


  • Presented at the 2012 Sanibel Symposium.

Department of Chemistry, West Virginia University, Institute of Technology, Montgomery, West Virginia 25136. E-mail:


Coherence is a collective property that is present in Bose–Einstein condensates (BEC), an example of which when charged is superconductivity (SC). Coherence is also believed to be present to a degree in highly efficient energy transfer in certain biological systems. Attributes of coherent systems are examined in BEC, superfluidity and Bardeen, Cooper, and Schrieffer SC and a laser in part 1. Part 2 consists of examination of various proposals for coherence including “emergent coherent systems” where there may be coherence but no phase transition. We discuss “cold” atomic gases, the Casimir effect, an extended version of Förster's resonance energy transfer, Fröhlich's model, exciton-coupled quantum wells, and conceptually “old” polaritons rejuvenated by new developments. A discussion about highly efficient energy transfer in photosynthesis along with our proposal for a possible new model for this system is the last of the examples. We finish with a discussion about emergent coherent systems and attempt to classify the examples of parts 1 and 2. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.