Vai al contenuto principale

Computational Chemistry

Using computational clusters and powerful programs, computational chemists can predict the motions, reactivity, aggregation and formation of complex molecules up to predict their crystal structures or the properties of new materials, without making any experimental measurements.

Traditionally chemistry is done by working in real laboratories full of fascinating glassware, colored reagents and surrounded by fairly smelly fumes. This is where the new molecules, new materials and new drugs that have so much impact in our society are created.
Chemistry was an experimental science until the first computers appeared in the early 1950s. But thanks to the spectacular evolution of supercomputers, today we can work in virtual chemical laboratories in which, without glassware, dangerous reagents or suffocating fumes, we can "simulate" the behavior of molecules and materials. How can we achieve that? The answer is contained in quantum mechanics which, formulated by illustrious physicists in the 1920s and 1930s, describes the laws of motion of atoms and molecules, just as Newton's law regulates that of macroscopic bodies. Today, modern computers and programs developed by computational chemists allow to simulate the reactivity of organic molecules, the properties of crystalline materials, glass or biomaterial of bone implants but also how the molecules of a new drug will be available and how this can be to be encapsulated in silica cages to be transported to the organs to be treated.
All this while sitting in front of the computer screen that becomes a powerful microscope capable of allowing us to study the motion of atoms and their union.

Impact on society

Traditional chemistry has a high cost for the society, some risks and many benefits. The use of computer chemistry does not present risks and increases the benefits of traditional chemistry. But how? In essence, thanks to the predictive power of specific programs and powerful computers, many chemical processes that would not be convenient or would lead to products with non-relevant characteristics can be ruled out. In practice, the calculator helps experimental chemists to avoid being trapped in unproductive synthetic routes, saving time, money and human resources.

Research topics

Software development:

Development of methods:

  • Astrochemistry (Piero Ugliengo). Formation of prebiotic organic molecules in space, in interstellar powders and on mineral surfaces.
  • Combustion (Giovanni GhigoAndrea MaranzanaGlauco Tonachini). Mechanisms of formation and functionalization of aromatic systems and carbonaceous particulate, in combustion.
  • Environment (Giovanni GhigoAndrea MaranzanaGlauco Tonachini). Study of oxidation mechanisms and functionalization of organic molecules in the atmosphere and surface waters.
  • Organic synthesis (Giovanni GhigoAndrea MaranzanaGlauco Tonachini). Determination of mechanisms, optimization of conditions and prediction of products with quantum mechanical methods.
  • Inorganic materials (Paola Antoniotti). Study of reaction mechanisms and structure, in the gas phase, of inorganic materials and of complexes with non-linear optical properties
  • Modeling (Carlo Canepa). Development of mathematical models for time-dependent chemical phenomena.
  • Electrochemistry (Carlo Nervi). Study of electrochemical and electrocatalytic mechanisms.

Last update: 08/06/2020 08:27
Non cliccare qui!