Date of Award

Fall 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Sabre Kais

Committee Member 1

David H. Thompson

Committee Member 2

Adam Wasserman

Committee Member 3

Lyudmila Slipchenko


This document should be considered in its separation; there are three distinct topics contained within and three distinct chapters within the body of works. In a similar fashion, this abstract should be considered in three parts. Firstly, we explored the existence of multiply-charged atomic ions by having developed a new set of dimensional scaling equations as well as a series of relativistic augmentations to the standard dimensional scaling procedure and to the self-consistent field calculations. Secondly, we propose a novel method of predicting drug efficacy in hopes to facilitate the discovery of new small molecule therapeutics by modeling the agonist-protein system as being similar to the process of Inelastic Electron Tunneling Spectroscopy. Finally, we facilitate the instruction in basic quantum mechanical topics through the use of quantum games; this method of approach allows for the generation of exercises with the intent of conveying the fundamental concepts within a first year quantum mechanics classroom. Furthermore, no to be mentioned within the body of the text, yet presented in appendix form, certain works modeling the proliferation of cells types within the confines of man-made lattices for the purpose of facilitating artificial vascular transplants. ^ In Chapter 2, we present a theoretical framework which describes multiply-charged atomic ions, their stability within super-intense laser fields, also lay corrections to the systems due to relativistic effects. Dimensional scaling calculations with relativistic corrections for systems: H, H-, H 2-, He, He-, He2-, He3- within super-intense laser fields were completed. Also completed were three-dimensional self consistent field calculations to verify the dimensionally scaled quantities. With the aforementioned methods the system's ability to stably bind 'additional' electrons through the development of multiple isolated regions of high potential energy leading to nodes of high electron density is shown. These nodes are spaced far enough from each other to minimized the electronic repulsion of the electrons, while still providing adequate enough attraction so as to bind the excess elections into orbitals. We have found that even with relativistic considerations these species are stably bound within the field. It was also found that performing the dimensional scaling calculations for systems within the confines of laser fields to be a much simpler and more cost-effective method than the supporting D=3 SCF method. The dimensional scaling method is general and can be extended to include relativistic corrections to describe the stability of simple molecular systems in super-intense laser fields.^ Chapter 3, we delineate the model, and aspects therein, of inelastic electron tunneling and map this model to the protein environment. G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) constitute a large family of receptors that sense molecules outside of a cell and activate signal transduction pathways inside the cell. Modeling how an agonist activates such a receptor is important for understanding a wide variety of physiological processes and it is of tremendous value for pharmacology and drug design. Inelastic electron tunneling spectroscopy (IETS) has been proposed as the mechanism by which olfactory GPCRs are activated by an encapsulated agonist. In this note we apply this notion to GPCRs within the mammalian nervous system using ab initio quantum chemical modeling. We found that non-endogenous agonists of the serotonin receptor share a singular IET spectral aspect both amongst each other and with the serotonin molecule: a peak that scales in intensity with the known agonist activities. We propose an experiential validation of this model by utilizing lysergic acid dimethylamide (DAM-57), an ergot derivative, and its isotopologues in which hydrogen atoms are replaced by deuterium. If validated our theory may provide new avenues for guided drug design and better in silico prediction of efficacies. ^ Our final chapter, explores methods which may be explored to assist in the early instruction in quantum mechanics. The learning of quantum mechanics is contingent upon an understanding of the physical significance of the mathematics that one must perform. Concepts such as normalization, superposition, interference, probability amplitude and entanglement can prove challenging for the beginning student. This paper outlines several class exercises that use a non-classical version of tic-tac-toe to instruct several topics in an undergraduate quantum mechanics course. Quantum tic-tac-toe (QTTT) is a quantum analogue of classical tic-tac-toe (CTTT) benefiting from the use of superposition in movement, qualitative (and later quantitative) displays of entanglement and state collapse due to observation. QTTT can be used for the benefit of the students understanding in several other topics with the aid of proper discussion.