Identifying mechanisms in the control of quantum dynamics through Hamiltonian encoding

Abhra Mitra, Herschel Rabitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


A variety of means are now available to design control fields for manipulating the evolution of quantum systems. However, the underlying physical mechanisms often remain obscure, especially in the cases of strong fields and high quantum state congestion. This paper proposes a method to quantitatively determine the various pathways taken by a quantum system in going from the initial state to the final target. The mechanism is revealed by encoding a signal in the system Hamiltonian and decoding the resultant nonlinear distortion of the signal in the system time-evolution operator. The relevant interfering pathways determined by this analysis give insight into the physical mechanisms operative during the evolution of the quantum system. A hierarchy of mechanism identification algorithms with increasing ability to extract more detailed pathway information is presented. The mechanism identification concept is presented in the context of analyzing computer simulations of controlled dynamics. As illustrations of the concept, mechanisms are identified in the control of several simple, discrete-state quantum systems. The mechanism analysis tools reveal the roles of multiple interacting quantum pathways to maximally take advantage of constructive and destructive interference. Similar procedures may be applied directly in the laboratory to identify control mechanisms without resort to computer modeling, although this extension is not addressed in this paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16
Number of pages1
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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