Sep 5, 2023

Scientists Slowed Down a Chemical Reaction 100 Billion Times to See What Happens

Posted by in categories: chemistry, computing, particle physics, quantum physics

Scientists have been able to observe a common interaction in quantum chemistry for the first time, by using a quantum computer to shadow the process at a speed 100 billion times slower than normal.

Known as a conical intersection, the interactions have long been known about, but are usually over in mere femtoseconds – quadrillionths of a second – making direct observations impossible to carry out.

A research team from the University of Sydney in Australia and the University of California, San Diego, instead monitored the reaction using a charged particle trapped in a field, allowing them to follow a version of the process that dragged on for a relative eternity.

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