Computing accurate forces in quantum Monte Carlo using Pulay’s corrections and energy minimization

Casalegno, Mosé; Mella, Massimo; Rappe, Andrew M.
April 2003
Journal of Chemical Physics;4/22/2003, Vol. 118 Issue 16, p7193
Academic Journal
In order to overcome the difficulty of optimizing molecular geometry using quantum Monte Carlo methods, we introduce various approximations to the exact force expectation value. We follow Pulay's suggestion [Mol. Phys. 17, 153 (1969)] to correct the Hellmann-Feynman estimator by introducing the contributions due to the changes in the wave function with respect to the nuclear positions. When used in conjunction with energy-optimized explicitly correlated trial wave functions for H[sub 2] and LiH, these approximations appear to yield accurate forces using both the variational and diffusion Monte Carlo methods. Also, the accuracy of the second-order estimate of the Hellmann-Feynman force estimator was investigated employing our energy-optimized trial wave functions, and an erratic behavior was uncovered for some of the studied bond lengths. The additional computational cost required to compute the corrections to the Hellmann-Feynman estimator was found to be only a small fraction of the cost for a simple mean energy calculation. The same approach could be exploited also in computing the derivative of other energy-dependent quantum-mechanical observables.


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