Science and Engineering

Princeton University

Gregory Scholes
Princeton, NJ
$1,000,000
December 2017

 

Chemical synthetic routes are designed based on the paradigm that bond breaking and making proceeds step-wise and that the probabilities for each reaction are additive.  A senior investigator at Princeton University speculates that it is possible to harness the wave basis of quantum mechanics to drive chemical reactions.  He proposes to produce and detect a quantum mechanical superposition (quantum entanglement) of two chemical reactions that each involves the shift of a hydrogen atom bond from one adjacent atom to another.  This result will demonstrate the potential for quantum mechanical control of reaction pathways in chemistry and suggest possibilities for understanding biochemical reactions, where hydrogen transfer processes are common.  The researcher will search suitable molecules experimentally for quantum entanglement; develop ultra-fast spectroscopy techniques to follow the evolution of this state; and, ultimately try to control chemistry using these entangled states.

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