TY - JOUR

T1 - Path integral molecular dynamics for fermions

T2 - Alleviating the sign problem with the Bogoliubov inequality

AU - Hirshberg, Barak

AU - Invernizzi, Michele

AU - Parrinello, Michele

N1 - Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Author(s).

PY - 2020/5/7

Y1 - 2020/5/7

N2 - We present a method for performing path integral molecular dynamics (PIMD) simulations for fermions and address its sign problem. PIMD simulations are widely used for studying many-body quantum systems at thermal equilibrium. However, they assume that the particles are distinguishable and neglect bosonic and fermionic exchange effects. Interacting fermions play a key role in many chemical and physical systems, such as electrons in quantum dots and ultracold trapped atoms. A direct sampling of the fermionic partition function is impossible using PIMD since its integrand is not positive definite. We show that PIMD simulations for fermions are feasible by employing our recently developed method for bosonic PIMD and reweighting the results to obtain fermionic expectation values. The approach is tested against path integral Monte Carlo (PIMC) simulations for up to seven electrons in a two-dimensional quantum dot for a range of interaction strengths. However, like PIMC, the method suffers from the sign problem at low temperatures. We propose a simple approach for alleviating it by simulating an auxiliary system with a larger average sign and obtaining an upper bound to the energy of the original system using the Bogoliubov inequality. This allows fermions to be studied at temperatures lower than would otherwise have been feasible using PIMD, as demonstrated in the case of a three-electron quantum dot. Our results extend the boundaries of PIMD simulations of fermions and will hopefully stimulate the development of new approaches for tackling the sign problem.

AB - We present a method for performing path integral molecular dynamics (PIMD) simulations for fermions and address its sign problem. PIMD simulations are widely used for studying many-body quantum systems at thermal equilibrium. However, they assume that the particles are distinguishable and neglect bosonic and fermionic exchange effects. Interacting fermions play a key role in many chemical and physical systems, such as electrons in quantum dots and ultracold trapped atoms. A direct sampling of the fermionic partition function is impossible using PIMD since its integrand is not positive definite. We show that PIMD simulations for fermions are feasible by employing our recently developed method for bosonic PIMD and reweighting the results to obtain fermionic expectation values. The approach is tested against path integral Monte Carlo (PIMC) simulations for up to seven electrons in a two-dimensional quantum dot for a range of interaction strengths. However, like PIMC, the method suffers from the sign problem at low temperatures. We propose a simple approach for alleviating it by simulating an auxiliary system with a larger average sign and obtaining an upper bound to the energy of the original system using the Bogoliubov inequality. This allows fermions to be studied at temperatures lower than would otherwise have been feasible using PIMD, as demonstrated in the case of a three-electron quantum dot. Our results extend the boundaries of PIMD simulations of fermions and will hopefully stimulate the development of new approaches for tackling the sign problem.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85084720700&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1063/5.0008720

DO - 10.1063/5.0008720

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C2 - 32384858

AN - SCOPUS:85084720700

SN - 0021-9606

VL - 152

JO - Journal of Chemical Physics

JF - Journal of Chemical Physics

IS - 17

M1 - 171102

ER -