Optimal control of uncertain quantum systems

M. Dahleh, A. P. Peirce, H. Rabitz

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123 Scopus citations


The design of optimal final-state controllers of quantum-mechanical systems that are insensitive to errors in the molecular Hamiltonian or to errors in the initial state of the system is considered. Control arises through the interaction of the system with an external field; the goal is optimal design of these latter fields for various physical objectives in the presence of system uncertainty. Sensitivity to modeling errors and other uncertainties in the molecular Hamiltonian is minimized by considering averaged costs for a family of Hamiltonian functions H0() indexed by the random variable taking values on a compact set in Euclidean space. Similarly, sensitivity of the optimal control to the initial state is minimized by viewing the initial condition as a Hilbert-space-valued random variable and considering an optimization problem with a cost functional that is averaged over the class of initial conditions. A precise formulation of the control problem is given, and its well-posedness is established. Cost propagators are defined to display the dependence of the performance index on the initial conditions explicitly, which allows analytic averaging of initial conditions. The constrained optimization problem is reduced to an unconstrained optimization problem by the introduction of Lagrange-multiplier operators. Necessary conditions for the unconstrained problem provide the basis for a gradient search for an optimal solution. Finite-difference schemes are utilized to provide a numerical approximation of the optimal control problem. Numerical examples are given for final-state control of a diatomic molecule represented by a Morse potential illustrating design for systems with initial-phase uncertainty and parametric uncertainty. The resultant insensitive controllers execute different strategies depending on the design requirements. The controller designed to be insensitive to errors in the initial phases adopts a strategy of phase imprinting during the initial stages of the control interval to compensate for a lack of knowledge of the initial phases. It is also shown that it is not possible to coerce a system from a state with completely random initial phases to a correlated state using the class of averaged controllers considered here. The controller designed to be insensitive to parametric Hamiltonian errors adopts a strategy of amplitude restraint to prevent the wave packet from taking significant excursions into the regions where the potential is uncertain. The interesting structure exhibited by the controllers in response to the different design requirements, and the superior performance of the insensitive controllers when compared with controllers designed at nominal phases and parameters, illustrate the usefulness of the cost-averaging technique for design in the presence of uncertainties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1065-1079
Number of pages15
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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