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Chemical bonding simulated with a quantum computer

illustration: quantum simulation of chemical processes © IQOQI Innsbruck / Harald Ritsch

The quantum simulation of chemical processes could help to solve many problems in chemistry in the future and thus, for example, provide new impetus for materials science, medicine and industrial chemistry. In the experiment carried out at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the scientists led by Cornelius Hempel and Thomas Monz are exploring a promising pathway for modelling chemical bonds and reactions using quantum computers.

“Even the largest supercomputers are struggling to model accurately anything but the most basic chemistry. Quantum computers simulating nature, however, unlock a whole new way of understanding matter. They will provide us with a new tool to solve problems in materials science, medicine and industrial chemistry using simulations”, says Cornelius Hempel. With quantum computing still in its infancy, it remains unclear exactly what problems these devices will be most effective at solving, but most experts agree that quantum chemistry is going to be one of the first ‘killer apps’ of this emerging technology.

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