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Bioelectromagnetics. 2015 Jan;36(1):45-54. doi: 10.1002/bem.21883. Epub 2014 Nov 15.

The effects of weak magnetic fields on radical pairs.

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Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.


It is proposed that radical concentrations can be modified by combinations of weak, steady and alternating magnetic fields that modify the population distribution of the nuclear and electronic spin state, the energy levels and the alignment of the magnetic moments of the components of the radical pairs. In low external magnetic fields, the electronic and nuclear angular momentum vectors are coupled by internal forces that outweigh the external fields' interactions and are characterized in the Hamiltonian by the total quantum number F. Radical pairs form with their unpaired electrons in singlet (S) or triplet (T) states with respect to each other. At frequencies corresponding to the energy separation between the various states in the external magnetic fields, transitions can occur that change the populations of both electron and nuclear states. In addition, the coupling between the nuclei, nuclei and electrons, and Zeeman shifts in the electron and nuclear energy levels can lead to transitions with resonances spanning frequencies from a few Hertz into the megahertz region. For nuclear energy levels with narrow absorption line widths, this can lead to amplitude and frequency windows. Changes in the pair recombination rates can change radical concentrations and modify biological processes. The overall conclusion is that the application of magnetic fields at frequencies ranging from a few Hertz to microwaves at the absorption frequencies observed in electron and nuclear resonance spectroscopy for radicals can lead to changes in free radical concentrations and have the potential to lead to biologically significant changes.


ELF; RF; radical pairs; stimulated transitions; weak magnetic fields bio-effects

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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