Quantum Control Landscapes Beyond the Dipole Approximation: Controllability, Singular Controls, and Resources

Benjamin Russell, Re Bing Wu, Herschel Rabitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We investigate the control landscapes of closed n-level quantum systems beyond the dipole approximation by including a polarizability term in the Hamiltonian. The latter term is quadratic in the control field. Theoretical analysis of singular controls is presented, which are candidates for producing landscape traps. The results for considering the presence of singular controls are compared to their counterparts in the dipole approximation (i.e., without polarizability). A numerical analysis of the existence of traps in control landscapes for generating unitary transformations beyond the dipole approximation is made upon including the polarizability term. An extensive exploration of these control landscapes is achieved by creating many random Hamiltonians which include terms linear and quadratic in a single control field. The discovered singular controls are all found not to be local optima. This result extends a great body of recent work on typical landscapes of quantum systems where the dipole approximation is made. We further investigate the relationship between the magnitude of the polarizability and the fluence of the control resulting from optimization. It is also shown that including a polarizability term in an otherwise uncontrollable dipole coupled system removes traps from the corresponding control landscape by restoring controllability. We numerically assess the effect of a polarizability term on a known example of a particular three-level Λ-system with a second order trap in its control landscape. It is found that the addition of the polarizability removes the trap from the landscape. The general practical control implications of these simulations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number674794
JournalFrontiers in Physics
StatePublished - May 11 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Mathematical Physics
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


  • dipole approximation
  • landscape topology
  • polarizability
  • quantum control
  • singular control


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