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Quantum Computing: Designing New Advanced Materials

By Dick Weisinger

Quantum Computing has the potential to revolutionize our ability to create new materials. Extremely detailed and accurate simulations will allow scientists to study material properties much more efficiently without the need to conduct real-world experiments.

The amount of data required to do sophisticated material simulations is too much for existing conventional supercomputers to handle. Scientists are beginning to use quantum computers to solve complex material simulations, but existing quantum computer technology is still primitive and is only able to consider a few atoms or molecules in the model.

The quantum computing team at IBM said that “we currently can’t represent enough orbitals in our simulations on quantum hardware to correlate the electrons found in complex molecules in the real world.”

If computer simulation of materials becomes accurate enough, it will be more cost-effective and time-efficient to run many computer simulations rather than to run actual experiments. Michael Helander, CEO of OTI Lumionics, said that “if we can simulate the properties of materials in a computer more accurately, we can screen through large pools of potential candidates, pick only the top few percent that look good, and have those tested.”

Marco Govoni, graduate student at the University of Chicago, said that simulations using quantum computers “is a powerful forward-looking strategy in computational materials science with the potential of predicting the properties of complex materials more accurately than the most advanced current methods can do at present.”

A revolution in materials may be just around the corner.

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