Quantum physics predict chemical reactions

Sep 15, 2005

Purdue University scientists say chemists trying to predict how complex biological molecules react with others may soon get help from quantum physics.

Using supercomputers to analyze the interplay of electrons around such molecules, physicists led by Purdue's Jorge Rodriguez have found the quantum property of electrons called "spin" must be considered to obtain a complete picture of how many biochemical reactions take place.

In particular, a class of metal-based proteins -- including hemoglobin and chlorophyll -- and their reactions in plants and animals, can be better understood with the technique.

Rodriguez said the discovery could help scientists with a number of practical problems, such as selecting the best potential new drug compounds from a vast group of candidates, a process that can cost pharmaceutical companies years of work and millions of dollars.

"Whereas we have had to be satisfied with observing the chemistry in living things and describing it afterward without complete understanding, we are developing computational tools that can predict what will happen between molecules before they meet in the test tube," said Rodriguez, an assistant professor of physics.

Two papers on the subject appear in this week's issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Mind the gap: Nanoscale speed bump could regulate plasmons for high-speed data flow

Related Stories

Polymers designed for protection

Mar 11, 2015

Today's Soldiers rely on polymers as part of their protective systems. Polymers are molecular chains that can vary from a few linked monomers to millions of chemical units. With highly tunable properties ...

When temperature goes quantum

Mar 06, 2015

A UA-led collaboration of physicists and chemists has discovered that temperature behaves in strange and unexpected ways in graphene, a material that has scientists sizzling with excitement about its potential ...

Recommended for you

Quantum teleportation on a chip

13 hours ago

The core circuits of quantum teleportation, which generate and detect quantum entanglement, have been successfully integrated into a photonic chip by an international team of scientists from the universities ...

Cooling massive objects to the quantum ground state

13 hours ago

Ground state cooling of massive mechanical objects remains a difficult task restricted by the unresolved mechanical sidebands. Now researchers have proposed an optomechanically-induced-transparency cooling ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.