Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters

Nonadiabatic Nuclear-Electron Dynamics: A Quantum Computing Approach

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Coupled quantum electron-nuclear dynamics is often associated with the Born-Huang expansion of the molecular wave function and the appearance of nonadiabatic effects as a perturbation. On the other hand, native multicomponent representations of electrons and nuclei also exist, which do not rely on any a priori approximation. However, their implementation is hampered by prohibitive scaling. Consequently, quantum computers offer a unique opportunity for extending their use to larger systems. Here, we propose a quantum algorithm for simulating the time-evolution of molecular systems and apply it to proton transfer dynamics in malonaldehyde, described as a rigid scaffold. The proposed quantum algorithm can be easily generalized to include the explicit dynamics of the classically described molecular scaffold. We show how entanglement between electronic and nuclear degrees of freedom can persist over long times if electrons do not follow the nuclear displacement adiabatically. The proposed quantum algorithm may become a valid candidate for the study of such phenomena when sufficiently powerful quantum computers become available.