Scientists have long suspected that a quantum phenomenon might play a role in photosynthesis and other chemical reactions of nature, but don't know for sure because such a phenomenon is so difficult to identify.
Purdue University researchers have demonstrated a new way to measure the phenomenon of entanglement in chemical reactions—the ability of quantum particles to maintain a special correlation with each other over a large distance.
Uncovering exactly how chemical reactions work could bring ways to mimic or recreate them in new technologies, such as for designing better solar energy systems.
The study, published on Friday (Aug. 2) in Science Advances, generalizes a popular theorem called "Bell's inequality" to identify entanglement in chemical reactions. In addition to theoretical arguments, the researchers also validated the generalized inequality through a quantum simulation.
"No one has experimentally shown entanglement in chemical reactions yet because we haven't had a way to measure it. For the first time, we have a practical way to measure it," said Sabre Kais, a professor of chemistry at Purdue. "The question now is, can we use entanglement to our advantage to predict and control the outcome of chemical reactions?"To read more, click here.