Symmetry-projected wave functions in quantum Monte Carlo calculations
Jiménez-Hoyos, Carlos A.
Scuseria, Gustavo E.
We consider symmetry-projected Hartree-Fock trial wave functions in constrained-path Monte Carlo (CPMC) calculations. Previous CPMC calculations have mostly employed Hartree-Fock (HF) trial wave functions, restricted or unrestricted. The symmetry-projected HF approach results in a hierarchy of wave functions with increasing quality: the more symmetries that are broken and restored in a self-consistent manner, the higher the quality of the trial wave function. This hierarchy is approximately maintained in CPMC calculations: the accuracy in the energy increases and the statistical variance decreases when further symmetries are broken and restored. Significant improvement is achieved in CPMC with the best symmetry-projected trial wave functions over those from simple HF. We analyze and quantify the behavior using the two-dimensional repulsive Hubbard model as an example. In the sign-problem-free region, where CPMC can be made exact but a constraint is deliberately imposed here, spin-projected wave functions remove the constraint bias. Away from half filling, spatial symmetry restoration in addition to that of the spin leads to highly accurate results from CPMC. Since the computational cost of symmetry-projected HF trial wave functions in CPMC can be made to scale algebraically with system size, this provides a potentially general approach for accurate calculations in many-fermion systems.