Journal of Chemical Physics

Quantum HF/DFT-embedding algorithms for electronic structure calculations: Scaling up to complex molecular systems

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In the near future, material and drug design may be aided by quantum computer assisted simulations. These have the potential to target chemical systems intractable by the most powerful classical computers. However, the resources offered by contemporary quantum computers are still limited, restricting the simulations to very simple molecules. In order to rapidly scale up to more interesting molecular systems, we propose the embedding of the quantum electronic structure calculation into a classically computed environment obtained at the Hartree-Fock (HF) or density functional theory (DFT) level of theory. This result is achieved by constructing an effective Hamiltonian that incorporates a mean field potential describing the action of the inactive electrons on a selected Active Space (AS). The ground state of the AS Hamiltonian is then determined by means of the variational quantum eigensolver algorithm. We show that with the proposed HF and DFT embedding schemes, we can obtain significant energy corrections to the reference HF and DFT calculations for a number of simple molecules in their strongly correlated limit (the dissociation regime) as well as for systems of the size of the oxirane molecule.