A team of Northwestern University researchers is the first to document the role chemistry will play in next generation computing and communication. By applying their expertise to the field of Quantum Information Science (QIS), they discovered how to move quantum information on the nanoscale through quantum teleportation—an emerging topic within the field of QIS. Their findings were published in the journal, Nature Chemistry, on September 23, 2019, and have untold potential to influence future research and application.
Quantum teleportation allows for the transfer of quantum information from one location to another, in addition to a more secure delivery of that information through significantly improved encryption.
The QIS field of research has long been the domain of physicists, and only in the past decade has drawn the attention and involvement of chemists who have applied their expertise to exploit the quantum nature of molecules for QIS applications.
“By generating entangled electrons through photochemistry that interact with a third electron in an organic radical, we can teleport information from one end of a molecule to another through electron transfer and ensure that it is moved without compromising, or changing, the information carried.” — Matthew D. Krzyaniak
“We are excited to be able to bring this new knowledge to an increasingly important field of discovery in quantum science,” said Michael R. Wasielewski, Clare Hamilton Hall Professor of Chemistry who leads the Wasielewski Research Group at Northwestern that obtained the new teleportation result. “These findings are the culmination of nearly a decade of research in molecular design.” Wasielewski is a member of the Executive Committee of the Initiative at Northwestern for Quantum Information Research and Engineering (INQUIRE).
The Wasielewski Group was able to teleport information across a molecule using an electron transfer mechanism, which has never been achieved before. This discovery has implications for computing and communication as well as sensing—such as refining the scale on which a magnetic field can be sensed— where the well-developed tools of synthetic chemistry can tailor a solution to the specific problem.
“This is a first step in showing that chemists can provide ideas and materials for what has up until now been in the realm of physicists,” explained Matthew D. Krzyaniak, research assistant professor at Northwestern and with the Wasielewski Group. “By generating entangled electrons through photochemistry that interact with a third electron in an organic radical, we can teleport information from one end of a molecule to another through electron transfer and ensure that it is moved without compromising, or changing, the information carried.”
The findings also provide a pathway to improve efficiencies in computing worldwide by reducing energy usage, according to Wasielewski, who serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainability and Energy (ISEN) at Northwestern.
Funding was provided for the research described in the recent Nature Chemistry publication by the US National Science Foundation.
Reference: “Photodriven quantum teleportation of an electron spin state in a covalent donor–acceptor–radical system” by Brandon K. Rugg, Matthew D. Krzyaniak, Brian T. Phelan, Mark A. Ratner, Ryan M. Young and Michael R. Wasielewski, 23 September 2019, Nature Chemistry.