July 24, 2018

Quantum Chemistry Calculations on a Trapped-Ion Quantum Simulator

  • Jhonathan Romero Fontalvo

This landmark paper highlights first scalable experimental realization of the variational quantum eigensolver algorithm in an ion trap quantum computer. This algorithm led to the development of an entire field of near-term quantum algorithms and continues to stand as one of the most important quantum algorithms today. 


Quantum-classical hybrid algorithms are emerging as promising candidates for near-term practical applications of quantum information processors in a wide variety of fields ranging from chemistry to physics and materials science. We report on the experimental implementation of such an algorithm to solve a quantum chemistry problem, using a digital quantum simulator based on trapped ions. Specifically, we implement the variational quantum eigensolver algorithm to calculate the molecular ground-state energies of two simple molecules and experimentally demonstrate and compare different encoding methods using up to four qubits. Furthermore, we discuss the impact of measurement noise as well as mitigation strategies and indicate the potential for adaptive implementations focused on reaching chemical accuracy, which may serve as a cross-platform benchmark for multiqubit quantum simulators.

Jhonathan Romero Fontalvo
Zapata Author

Jhonathan Romero Fontalvo , Ph.D.

Director of Professional Services & Co-Founder