Fault-Tolerant Quantum Simulation of Materials Using Bloch Orbitals

Dominic Berry
Alec White
Eugene DePrince III
Sabrina Sicolo
Michael Kuehn
Michael Kaicher
Joonho Lee
PRX Quantum, 4(2023), pp. 040303


The simulation of chemistry is among the most promising applications of quantum computing. However, most prior work exploring algorithms for block encoding, time evolving, and sampling in the eigenbasis of electronic structure Hamiltonians has either focused on modeling finite-sized systems, or has required a large number of plane-wave basis functions. In this work, we extend methods for quantum simulation with Bloch orbitals constructed from symmetry-adapted atom-centered orbitals so that one can model periodic ab initio Hamiltonians using only a modest number of basis functions. We focus on adapting existing algorithms based on combining qubitization with tensor factorizations of the Coulomb operator. Significant modifications of those algorithms are required to obtain an asymptotic speedup leveraging translational (or, more broadly, Abelian) symmetries. We implement block encodings using known tensor factorizations and a new Bloch orbital form of tensor hypercontraction. Finally, we estimate the resources required to deploy our algorithms to classically challenging model materials relevant to the chemistry of lithium nickel oxide battery cathodes within the surface code. We find that even with these improvements, the quantum runtime of these algorithms is on the order of thousands of days and further algorithmic improvements are required to make realistic quantum simulation of materials practical.