This article describes the variational and fixed-node diffusion quantum Monte Carlo methods and how they may be used to calculate the properties of many-electron systems. These stochastic wave-function-based approaches provide a very direct treatment of quantum many-body effects and serve as benchmarks against which other techniques may be compared. They complement the less demanding density-functional approach by providing more accurate results and a deeper understanding of the physics of electronic correlation in real materials. The algorithms are intrinsically parallel, and currently available high-performance computers allow applications to systems containing a thousand or more electrons. With these tools one can study complicated problems such as the properties of surfaces and defects, while including electron correlation effects with high precision. The authors provide a pedagogical overview of the techniques and describe a selection of applications to ground and excited states of solids and clusters.
Reviews of Modern Physics
- Pub Date:
- January 2001
- Theories and models of many-electron systems;
- Molecular dynamics calculations and other numerical simulations;
- Exchange correlation dielectric and magnetic response functions plasmons