Simulating the vibrational quantum dynamics of molecules using photonics

Chris Sparrow, Enrique Martín-López, Nicola Maraviglia, Alex Neville, Christopher Harrold, Jacques Carolan, Yogesh N. Joglekar, Toshikazu Hashimoto, Nobuyuki Matsuda, Jeremy L. O'Brien, David P. Tew, Anthony Laing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Citations (Scopus)


Advances in control techniques for vibrational quantum states in molecules present new challenges for modelling such systems, which could be amenable to quantum simulation methods. Here, by exploiting a natural mapping between vibrations in molecules and photons in waveguides, we demonstrate a reprogrammable photonic chip as a versatile simulation platform for a range of quantum dynamic behaviour in different molecules. We begin by simulating the time evolution of vibrational excitations in the harmonic approximation for several four-atom molecules, including H2CS, SO3, HNCO, HFHF, N4 and P4. We then simulate coherent and dephased energy transport in the simplest model of the peptide bond in proteins - N-methylacetamide - and simulate thermal relaxation and the effect of anharmonicities in H2O. Finally, we use multi-photon statistics with a feedback control algorithm to iteratively identify quantum states that increase a particular dissociation pathway of NH3. These methods point to powerful new simulation tools for molecular quantum dynamics and the field of femtochemistry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)660-667
Number of pages8
Issue number7707
Publication statusPublished - 2018 May 31


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