Solving the Pecten: The Reverse Photoelectric Effect

We’ve shown how birds use their seventh sense to navigate, and shown how it may be why they fly into windows. One question we haven’t answered is how does it work. Any answer to this question must determine the use of the pecten, the mysterious vascular structure at the back of the avian eye.

The opposite of the photoelectric effect is X-Ray production. Just take a look at an X-Ray producing apparatus next to the eye of a bird. They look remarkably similar. Not only that, but the physics that produces X-Rays could produce the seventh sense.

The eye is the tube. The pecten is the anode target. Light would create the heat, current, and voltage.

X-rays can be generated by an X-ray tube, a vacuum tube that uses a high voltage to accelerate the electrons released by a hot cathode to a high velocity. The high velocity electrons collide with a metal target, the anode, creating the X-rays.

It’s worth noting that UV light is one step below X-Rays on energy. Meaning, if we lower the energy of the input, the output would be lower as well. And this means that the process would produce the expected wavelength of rays.


E=hf thus pc=hf

p=\frac{hf}{c} and f=\frac{1}{\lambda}

Thus E=\frac{hc}{\lambda}

So if the energy goes down, what happens to \lambda? It increases. Frequency decreases. That’s exactly what we anticipated!

The pecten is a comb-like structure of blood vessels belonging to the choroid in the eye of a bird. It is a non-sensory, pigmented structure that projects into the vitreous body from the point where the optic nerve enters the eyeball.

How does this produce a charge? The pigment makes sense. That would absorb light. But how does this structure act as the anode? The light creates current in the eye. And the pecten structure absorbs this light, but is also affected by the current. So the pecten itself becomes charged by the field it sits in. The particles it moves to cool and nourish the eye, become charged so that as the photons enter, they scatter UV radiation back through the eye.

We’ve shown how current in the eye helps us balance, and effects photo-epilepsy, it would also orient the cells on the pecten in a polarizing fashion. The positively charged side would face the front of the eye. And that’s what the anode does in x-ray production. So the light charges the eye, polarizes the nourishing pecten, and uses the pecten as an anode to fuel the bird’s seventh sense of ultraviolet production.



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