A quantum computer could design your next smartphone

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Canadian researchers are using quantum computer simulations to accurately predict the color of light emitted by molecules that produce the colors we see in the latest smartphones, tablets and TV screens.

Designing complex molecules for electronics and pharmaceuticals is beyond the capabilities of current quantum computers, but we are getting closer to building them. Working with OTI Lumionics Inc. of Toronto, Professor Zac Hudson of UBC thinks this research could be a game-changer for materials design, as it opens the door to using quantum computers to design molecules.

The model used by the researchers predicted the properties of these light-emitting materials with as much or more accuracy than the best classical models, showing that quantum models could soon be used to design bespoke materials with specific properties, including pharmaceuticals or materials for electronics.

Luminescent materials at Hudson Lab. Credit: Dr. Zac Hudson

Currently, most materials are engineered by first creating hundreds of molecules in a lab, which are then tested for the desired properties. Accurate quantum models would save time and money, while reducing waste, says Dr. Hudson, putting Canadian companies at the forefront of materials design.

Language(s) of interview: English (Hudson)

Click here for multimedia resources, including the B-roll: www.bit.ly/QuantumDesign

A reaction to make light-emitting materials

A reaction to make light-emitting materials. Credit: Dr. Zac Hudson

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