Physical Review Applied

Gate-Efficient Simulation of Molecular Eigenstates on a Quantum Computer

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A key requirement to perform simulations of large quantum systems on near-term quantum hardware is the design of quantum algorithms with a short circuit depth that finish within the available coherence time. A way to stay within the limits of coherence is to reduce the number of gates by implementing a gate set that matches the requirements of the specific algorithm of interest directly in the hardware. Here, we show that exchange-type gates are a promising choice for simulating molecular eigenstates on near-term quantum devices since these gates preserve the number of excitations in the system. We report on the experimental implementation of a variational algorithm on a superconducting qubit platform to compute the eigenstate energies of molecular hydrogen. We utilize a parametrically driven tunable coupler to realize exchange-type gates that are configurable in amplitude and phase on two fixed-frequency superconducting qubits. With gate fidelities around 95%, we are able to compute the eigenstates to within an accuracy of 50 mHa (milliHartree) on average, a limit set by the coherence time of the tunable coupler.