Understanding molecules to create innovative technology
Many natural processes and technologies that we rely on everyday—from medical diagnostic tools and therapies, to clean energy storage and electronic components—depend on the motions of atoms and molecules. In order to better understand these phenomena and improve existing technologies, we need to learn how to control and predict the behaviour of molecules.
As Canada Research Chair in Quantum Molecular Dynamics, Pierre-Nicholas Roy is seeking new ways to understand and predict the nature of the motions of molecules. These advances can then help us create more innovative computing devices, efficient energy storage materials, and faster nano components for electronics.
First, we need to understand the fundamentals of the laws governing the motion of atoms, how molecules respond to light, and what drives some molecules to stay liquid while others become solid. Roy and his team will develop new theories, write computer software to unravel the nature of materials, and then test these predictions through a number of experiments.
Because, to really understand molecular motion, one needs to use the laws of quantum mechanics, which govern everything at the atomic scale. The solution of the resulting mathematical equations requires overwhelming computational resources, so highly efficient simulation software is therefore paramount. These newly developed computational tools will affect all areas that rely on the storage and processing of vast amounts of information.
Roy’s research will lead to new ways of looking at the world when considering matter on the ultra-small scale, and will lead to new technologies for information processing, as well as energy efficient electronic components.