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I recently heard a talk from a physicist about experiments on simple two-atom molecules in vacuum that showed that certain behaviour of the molecules was explained by quantum entanglement. Now this experiment was about creating holes in the inner electron shells of the molecule, so pretty much in the realm of physics and not chemistry. It was also performed in vacuum, and the lecturer himself said that in solution such an effect would likely be destroyed by frequent collisions in the solvent.

I was wondering if there are any examples of chemical behaviour of molecules that can only be explained by quantum entanglement. Does it ever play a role on the scale of chemistry, or is this effect just not relevant on anything beyond the small moleculs in vacuum stage physicists tend to use?

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Entanglement is actually a fundamental property of quantum mechanics, so basically nothing can be explained without it. It's only a question of the point of view whether you're talking about entanglement or just superposition in a specific application. – leftaroundabout Nov 7 '12 at 11:04
"Quantum Entanglement" is a modern day buzzword for what we have known since the advent of quantum mechanics. Yes, it can and does affect chemistry because it's just quantum mechanics. Electrons exist over all space, and so if you blew a hole in one atom, an electron on the moon would certainly know about it. – Eric Brown May 4 '13 at 20:30

I've not really read anything on it, but a short while ago research on the role of entanglement in excitonic transfer in the photosynthetic light harvesting apparatus caused quite a stir.

Here is an ArXiV preprint of a paper on entanglement in an antenna protein from C. tepidum. It was published in Nature Physics. The authors note the extraordinary result of entanglement being observed in an inherently quite 'noisy' system.

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I've hear that superatomic systems are theorized to involved strange quantum behaviour (compared with other molecular systems).

Non-classical behaviour is also believed to be the root of unusual carbon / graphene behaviour, such as in C60, and other higher-order materials / chemistry.

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