Exploring the control landscape for nonlinear quantum dynamics

Julia Yan, David Hocker, Ruixing Long, Tak San Ho, Herschel Rabitz

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4 Scopus citations


Manipulation of a quantum system can be viewed in the framework of a control landscape defined as the physical objective as a functional of the control. Control landscape analyses have thus far considered linear quantum dynamics. This paper extends the analysis of control landscape topology to nonlinear quantum dynamics with the objective of steering a finite-level quantum system from an initial state to a final target state. The analysis rests on the assumptions that (i) the final state is reachable from the initial state, (ii) the differential mapping from the control to the state is surjective, and (iii) the control resources are unconstrained. Under these assumptions, landscape critical points (i.e., where the slope vanishes) for nonlinear quantum dynamics only appear as the global maximum and minimum; thus, the landscape is free of traps. Moreover, the landscape Hessian (i.e., the second derivative with respect to the control) at the global maximum has finite rank, indicating the presence of a large level set of optimal controls that preserve the value of the maximum. Extensive numerical simulations on finite-level models of the Gross-Pitaevskii equation confirm the trap-free nature of the landscape as well as the Hessian rank analysis, using either an applied electric field or a tunable condensate two-body interaction strength as the control. In addition, the control mechanisms arising in the numerical simulations are qualitatively assessed. These results are a generalization of previous findings for the linear Schrödinger equation, and show promise for successful control in a wide range of nonlinear quantum dynamics applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number063408
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 10 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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