Real-time quantum chemistry



Significant progress in the development of efficient and fast algorithms for quantum chemical calculations has been made in the past two decades. The main focus has always been the desire to be able to treat ever larger molecules or molecular assemblies—especially linear and sublinear scaling techniques are devoted to the accomplishment of this goal. However, as many chemical reactions are rather local, they usually involve only a limited number of atoms so that models of about 200 (or even less) atoms embedded in a suitable environment are sufficient to study their mechanisms. Thus, the system size does not need to be enlarged, but remains constant for reactions of this type that can be described by less than 200 atoms. The question then arises how fast one can obtain the quantum chemical results. This question is not directly answered by linear-scaling techniques. In fact, ideas such as haptic quantum chemistry (HQC) or interactive quantum chemistry require an immediate provision of quantum chemical information which demands the calculation of data in “real time.” In this perspective, we aim at a definition of real-time quantum chemistry, explore its realm and eventually discuss applications in the field of HQC. For the latter, we elaborate whether a direct approach is possible by virtue of real-time quantum chemistry. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.