We propose an approach to the electronic structure problem based on noninteracting electron pairs that has similar computational cost to conventional methods based on noninteracting electrons. In stark contrast to other approaches, the wave function is an antisymmetric product of nonorthogonal geminals, but the geminals are structured so the projected Schrödinger equation can be solved very efficiently. We focus on an approach where, in each geminal, only one of the orbitals in a reference Slater determinant is occupied. The resulting method gives good results for atoms and small molecules. It also performs well for a prototypical example of strongly correlated electronic systems, the hydrogen atom chain.
Inspired by the wavefunction forms of exactly solvable algebraic Hamiltonians, we present several wavefunction ansatze. These wavefunction forms are exact for two-electron systems; they are size consistent; they include the (generalized) antisymmetrized geminal power, the antisymmetrized product of strongly orthogonal geminals, and a Slater determinant wavefunctions as special cases. The number of parameters in these wavefunctions grows only linearly with the size of the system. The parameters in the wavefunctions can be determined by projecting the Schrödinger equation against a test-set of Slater determinants; the resulting set of nonlinear equations is reminiscent of coupled-cluster theory, and can be solved with no greater than O (N5) scaling if all electrons are assumed to be paired, and with O (N6) scaling otherwise. Based on the analogy to coupled-cluster theory, methods for computing spectroscopic properties, molecular forces, and response properties are proposed.
We have implemented the sweep algorithm for the variational optimization of SU(2) x U(1) (spin and particle number) invariant matrix product states (MPS) for general spin and particle number invariant fermionic Hamiltonians. This class includes non-relativistic quantum chemical systems within the Born-Oppenheimer approximation. High-accuracy ab-initio finite field results of the longitudinal static polarizabilities and second hyperpolarizabilities of one-dimensional hydrogen chains are presented. This allows to assess the performance of other quantum chemical methods. For small basis sets, MPS calculations in the saturation regime of the optical response properties can be performed. These results are extrapolated to the thermodynamic limit.