Rényi free energy and variational approximations to thermal states

Giacomo Giudice, Aslı Çakan, J. Ignacio Cirac, and Mari Carmen Bañuls
Phys. Rev. B 103, 205128   Published 2021


We propose the construction of thermodynamic ensembles that minimize the Rényi free energy, as an alternative to Gibbs states. For large systems, the local properties of these Rényi ensembles coincide with those of thermal equilibrium and they can be used as approximations to thermal states. We provide algorithms to find tensor network approximations to the 2-Rényi ensemble. In particular, a matrix-product-state representation can be found by using gradient-based optimization on Riemannian manifolds or via a nonlinear evolution which yields the desired state as a fixed point. We analyze the performance of the algorithms and the properties of the ensembles on one-dimensional spin chains.