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My understanding of vision is that, although the cone cells in our eyes can detect three colors, there is enough overlap in the responsivity spectra (as shown here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectral_sensitivity) that we can see any wavelength in the visual range.

What is the physical reason for the broadness of the responsivity spectra peaks? Is it interactions with water molecules, interactions with the protein that the retinal molecule is attached to, or is it broad because many vibrational states of the retinal can be excited?

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  • $\begingroup$ They aren't particularly broad afaik. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Mar 11 '19 at 20:46
  • $\begingroup$ It is a question I am thinking since a while. I suppose that are proteins deforming the conjugated chain. We'll see, perhaps in a while you can try biology. ... $\endgroup$ – Alchimista Mar 12 '19 at 9:24

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