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Perspectives: Chemistry and Quantum Information Science

Julianne Beck | July 14, 2020
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The relationship between chemistry and Quantum Information Science (QIS) is outlined in a Perspectives piece published this month in Nature Reviews Chemistry. First author Michael R. Wasielewski is the Clare Hamilton Hall Professor of Chemistry; Executive Director, Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN); Director, the Center for Molecular Quantum Transduction (CMQT), a US Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Frontier Research Center, a member of the executive committee for Northwestern’s Initiative for Quantum Information Research and Engineering (INQUIRE), and a member of the Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE).

The Perspectives piece highlights the unique ability of chemistry to approach problems in the rapidly growing field of QIS. The discussion was generated through a DOE workshop in November of 2018, when the authors convened to address, in detail, how chemical systems and reactions can impact quantum computing, communication and sensing.

The QIS field of research has long been the domain of physicists, and only in the past decade has drawn the attention and involvement of chemists who have applied their expertise to exploit the quantum nature of molecules for QIS applications.

In particular, the piece argues that, “hierarchical molecular design and synthesis, from small molecules to supramolecular assemblies, combined with new spectroscopic probes of quantum coherence and theoretical modelling of complex systems, offer a broad range of possibilities to realize practical quantum information science applications.”

Northwestern Associate Professor of Chemistry Danna E. Freedman, Deputy Director of the CMQT and also a member of the executive committee of INQUIRE, is a co-author.

Chemistry, long a vital part of advances in societal needs such as energy production, healthcare, and information sciences, brings valuable insight into quantum science discovery. The recent Perspectives piece presents an optimistic view of future research and discovery that is both known today and yet to be discovered, for the benefit of society.