Quantum Simulation of Polarized Light-Induced Electron Transfer with a Trapped-Ion Qutrit System.


Electron transfer within and between molecules is crucial in chemistry, biochemistry, and energy science. This study describes a quantum simulation method that explores the influence of light polarization on electron transfer between two molecules. By implementing precise and coherent control among the quantum states of trapped atomic ions, we can induce quantum dynamics that mimic the electron-transfer dynamics in molecules. We use three-level systems (qutrits), rather than traditional two-level systems (qubits), to enhance the simulation efficiency and realize high-fidelity simulations of electron-transfer dynamics. We treat the quantum interference between the electron coupling pathways from a donor with two degenerate excited states to an acceptor and analyze the transfer efficiency. We also examine the potential error sources that enter the quantum simulations. The trapped-ion systems have favorable scalings with system size compared to those of classical computers, promising access to richer electron-transfer simulations.