Quantum Correlations in Molecular Systems: a Blessing and a Curse
Chemistry is often referred to as the “central science”because it is connected to all of the physical, applied and life sciences. Chemistry is at the very heart of it all, from the exotic properties of new materials that make your smartphone work faster to the drug molecules that save your life.
Molecules and chemical compounds obey the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics, which is both a blessing and a curse. The benefit is that new materials and compounds capitalize upon the surprising and often counterintuitive nature of quantum mechanics. However, quantum mechanical computations or simulations of molecular systems are also incredibly hard and much more expensive than what is feasible at any high-performance computing facility.
As Canada Research Chair in Theoretical Chemistry, Dr. Stijn De Baerdemacker is focusing on finding smart theoretical methods that can defy this curse. By translating ideas from mathematical physics, theoretical physics and machine learning into meaningful chemical descriptors, he and his research team are building new computational methods. These methods will help us to understand, describe and predict the properties and dynamics of small- to medium-sized molecular systems for which quantum properties are both the blessing and the curse.
Ultimately, the tools De Baerdemacker and his team develop will help us to fully harness the power of quantum for the development of smart technological devices, renewable energy sources and efficient drugs.