Monday, March 10, 2008

Computational chemistry

Computational chemistry is a branch of chemistry that uses computers to assist in solving chemical problems. It uses the results of theoretical chemistry, incorporated into efficient computer programs, to calculate the structures and properties of molecules and solids. While its results normally complement the information obtained by chemical experiments, it can in some cases predict hitherto unobserved chemical phenomena. It is widely used in the design of new drugs and materials.

Examples of such properties are structure (i.e. the expected positions of the constituent atoms), absolute and relative (interaction) energies, electronic charge distributions, dipoles and higher multipole moments, vibrational frequencies, reactivity or other spectroscopic quantities, and cross sections for collision with other particles.