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Paper IPM / P / 14302  


Abstract:  
For several decades the physical mechanism underlying discrete dark noise of photoreceptors in the eye has remained highly controversial and poorly understood. It is known that the Arrhenius equation, which is based on the Boltzmann distribution for thermal activation, can model only a part (e.g. half of the activation energy) of the retinal dark noise experimentally observed for vertebrate rod and cone pigments. Using the Hinshelwood distribution instead of the Boltzmann distribution in the Arrhenius equation has been proposed as a solution to the problem. Here, we show that the using the Hinshelwood distribution does not solve the problem completely. As the discrete components of noise are indistinguishable in shape and duration from those produced by real photon induced photoisomerization, the retinal discrete dark noise is most likely due to ï¿½??internal photonsï¿½?? inside cells and not due to thermal activation of visual pigments. Indeed, all living cells exhibit spontaneous ultraweak photon emission (UPE), mainly in the optical wavelength range, i.e., 350ï¿½??700 nm. We show here that the retinal discrete dark noise has a similar rate as UPE and therefore dark noise is most likely due to spontaneous cellular UPE and not due to thermal activation.
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