Repository logo

Folded Spectrum VQE: A Quantum Computing Method for the Calculation of Molecular Excited States.

Published version

Repository DOI

Change log


The recent developments of quantum computing present novel potential pathways for quantum chemistry as the scaling of the computational power of quantum computers could be harnessed to naturally encode and solve electronic structure problems. Theoretically exact quantum algorithms for chemistry have been proposed (e.g., quantum phase estimation), but the limited capabilities of current noisy intermediate-scale quantum devices motivated the development of less demanding hybrid algorithms. In this context, the variational quantum eigensolver (VQE) algorithm was successfully introduced as an effective method to compute the ground-state energies of small molecules. This study investigates the folded spectrum (FS) method as an extension of the VQE algorithm for the computation of molecular excited states. It provides the possibility of directly computing excited states around a selected target energy using the same quantum circuit as for the ground-state calculation. Inspired by the variance-based methods from the quantum Monte Carlo literature, the FS method minimizes the energy variance, thus, in principle, requiring a computationally expensive squared Hamiltonian to be applied. We alleviate this potentially poor scaling by employing a Pauli grouping procedure to identify sets of commuting Pauli strings that can be evaluated simultaneously. This allows for a significant reduction in the computational cost. We applied the FS-VQE method to small molecules (H2, LiH), obtaining all electronic excited states with chemical accuracy on ideal quantum simulators. Furthermore, we explore the application of quantum error mitigation techniques, demonstrating improved energy accuracy on noisy simulators compared with simulations without mitigation.


Publication status: Published


34 Chemical Sciences, 3406 Physical Chemistry, 3407 Theoretical and Computational Chemistry, 7 Affordable and Clean Energy

Journal Title

J Chem Theory Comput

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



American Chemical Society (ACS)
Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry Studentship, sponsored by Quantinuum.