We introduce a scheme for approximating quantum time correlation functions numerically within the Feynman path integral formulation. Starting with the symmetrized version of the correlation function expressed as a discretized path integral, we introduce a change of integration variables often used in the derivation of trajectory-based semiclassical methods. In particular, we transform to sum and difference variables between forward and backward complex-time propagation paths. Once the transformation is performed, the potential energy is expanded in powers of the difference variables, which allows us to perform the integrals over these variables analytically. The manner in which this procedure is carried out results in an open-chain path integral (in the remaining sum variables) with a modified potential that is evaluated using imaginary-time path-integral sampling rather than requiring the generation of a large ensemble of trajectories. Consequently, any number of path integral sampling schemes can be employed to compute the remaining path integral, including Monte Carlo, path-integral molecular dynamics, or enhanced path-integral molecular dynamics. We believe that this approach constitutes a different perspective in semiclassical-type approximations to quantum time correlation functions. Importantly, we argue that our approximation can be systematically improved within a cumulant expansion formalism. We test this approximation on a set of one-dimensional problems that are commonly used to benchmark approximate quantum dynamical schemes. We show that the method is at least as accurate as the popular ring-polymer molecular dynamics technique and linearized semiclassical initial value representation for correlation functions of linear operators in most of these examples and improves the accuracy of correlation functions of nonlinear operators.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry