Bounds on the curvature at the top and bottom of the transition probability landscape

Vincent Beltrani, Jason Dominy, Tak San Ho, Herschel Rabitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The transition probability between the states of a controlled quantum system is a basic physical observable, and the associated control landscape is specified by the transition probability as a function of the applied field. An initial control likely will produce a transition probability near the bottom of the landscape, while the final goal is to find a field that results in a high transition probability value at the top. For controls producing either of the latter extreme landscape values, the Hessian of the transition probability with respect to the control field characterizes the curvature of the landscape and the ease of leaving either limit. Prior work showed that the Hessian spectrum possesses an upper bound on the number of non-zero eigenvalues as well as an infinite number of zero eigenvalues. The associated eigenfunctions accordingly specify the coordinated control field changes that either maximally or minimally influence the transition probability. We show in this paper that there exists a lower bound on the number of non-zero Hessian eigenvalues at either the top or bottom of the landscape. In particular, there is at least one non-zero eigenvalue at the top and generally one at the bottom. Under special circumstances, the Hessian may be identically zero at the bottom (i.e. it possesses no non-zero eigenvalues). These results dictate the curvature of the top and bottom of the landscape, which has important physical significance for seeking optimal control fields. At the top, a field that produces a single non-zero Hessian eigenvalue of small magnitude will generally exhibit a high degree of robustness to field noise. In contrast, at the bottom, working with a field producing the maximum number of non-zero eigenvalues will generally assure the most rapid climb towards a high transition probability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number154009
JournalJournal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 14 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'Bounds on the curvature at the top and bottom of the transition probability landscape'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this