Algebraic and computational aspects of quantum control and applications.

Pullen, Ivan Christopher Hugh (2006). Algebraic and computational aspects of quantum control and applications. PhD thesis The Open University.



We investigate the problem of control of quantum systems. Various notions of controllability of quantum systems are discussed and Lie algebraic techniques are employed to derive necessary and sufficient conditions for the resulting degrees of controllability. The results are employed to study the degree of controllability for various model systems.

The problem of optimal control is formulated as a problem of maximisation of the expectation value of an observable of the system subject to dynamical constraints and costs. A class of iterative algorithms is discussed, and shown to converge to a solution of the Euler-Lagrange equations, which is a necessary condition for optimality of a solution. A numerical realisation of the algorithm is presented and potential implementation of the resulting control fields in the laboratory is discussed.

The algorithm is applied to find optimal control fields for a variety of applications including selective and simultaneous excitation of individual quantum dots in a globally addressed ensemble, creation of superposition states, and selective excitation of certain vibrational modes of a simple molecule such as Hydrogen Fluoride. In each case we systematically explore the parameter space of the algorithm to select solutions with desirable physical features from the multitude of possible choices.

As there are many possible optimal control fields which give similar yields the question of whether some are more robust than others is investigated. A number of optimal fields are analysed quantitatively in terms of robustness with regard to temporal and spectral noise affecting the fields, uncertainty in the model parameters and the effect of experimental limitations such as restrictions on the bandwidth of the fields. It is shown that whilst the solutions tend to be sensitive to uncertainty in the energy levels chosen for the model, they appear to be surprisingly tolerant to even severe bandwidth limitations.

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