Dr. Miranda Quintana is creating computational algorithms to gain new understanding of the properties of complex chemical compounds, potentially leading to game-changing advances such as zero-loss electricity transmission and safe handling of nuclear waste.
Although current computer-based studies into chemical reactions of compounds made of common elements are largely effective, they are extremely slow and inefficient when it comes to studying heavier elements. Dr. Miranda Quintana’s work focuses on examining the highly-complex electron interactions in strongly correlated systems (such as molecules containing rare-earth elements, the lanthanides and actinides), which hold enormous potential for industrial and energy uses.
He has helped to develop a computational framework called FANCI which, by combining mathematical data with coding, is designed to speed up the development, implementation, and testing of new theoretical tools to study general chemical systems.
The goal of the FANCI framework is to study previously inaccessible compounds and discover their properties, such as thermodynamics, magnetism, superconductivity, and whether they act as catalysts.
The potential practical uses are many. For instance, scientists have long sought to create materials that are superconductive at regular temperatures – currently they have to be cooled to near absolute zero to work – which would open the door to microscopic data storage devices, powerful quantum computers, and power transmission grids that work at near 100-per-cent efficiency, revolutionizing the power industry. The work could also create new types of nuclear fuel as well as safe and simple ways of disposing of nuclear waste.
Dr, Miranda, who came to Canada from Cuba in 2018 to conduct post-doctoral research, aims to make his computational methods user-friendly and transferable to other researchers for use in their own work looking for a new generation of materials and molecular devices with desired features.