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: Optimum inertial self-propulsion design for snowman-like nanorobot

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The future of ultrashort laser pulses

9 hours ago

Rapid advances in techniques for the creation of ultra-short laser pulses promise to boost our knowledge of electron motions to an unprecedented level.

New optical sensors swell when exposed to target gas

Jun 17, 2014

Using microscopic polymer light resonators that expand in the presence of specific gases, researchers at MIT's Quantum Photonics Laboratory have developed new optical sensors with predicted detection levels ...

Recommended for you

A transistor-like amplifier for single photons

18 hours ago

Data transmission over long distances usually utilizes optical techniques via glass fibres – this ensures high speed transmission combined with low power dissipation of the signal. For quite some years ...

User comments : 0