Quantum control by means of Hamiltonian structure manipulation

A. Donovan, V. Beltrani, H. Rabitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


A traditional quantum optimal control experiment begins with a specific physical system and seeks an optimal time-dependent field to steer the evolution towards a target observable value. In a more general framework, the Hamiltonian structure may also be manipulated when the material or molecular 'stockroom' is accessible as a part of the controls. The current work takes a step in this direction by considering the converse of the normal perspective to now start with a specific fixed field and employ the system's time-independent Hamiltonian structure as the control to identify an optimal form. The Hamiltonian structure control variables are taken as the system energies and transition dipole matrix elements. An analysis is presented of the Hamiltonian structure control landscape, defined by the observable as a function of the Hamiltonian structure. A proof of system controllability is provided, showing the existence of a Hamiltonian structure that yields an arbitrary unitary transformation when working with virtually any field. The landscape analysis shows that there are no suboptimal traps (i.e., local extrema) for controllable quantum systems when unconstrained structural controls are utilized to optimize a state-to-state transition probability. This analysis is corroborated by numerical simulations on model multilevel systems. The search effort to reach the top of the Hamiltonian structure landscape is found to be nearly invariant to system dimension. A control mechanism analysis is performed, showing a wide variety of behavior for different systems at the top of the Hamiltonian structure landscape. It is also shown that reducing the number of available Hamiltonian structure controls, thus constraining the system, does not always prevent reaching the landscape top. The results from this work lay a foundation for considering the laboratory implementation of optimal Hamiltonian structure manipulation for seeking the best control performance, especially with limited electromagnetic resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7348-7362
Number of pages15
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 28 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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