Quantum control mechanism analysis through field based Hamiltonian encoding

Abhra Mitra, Herschel Rabitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Optimal control of quantum dynamics in the laboratory is proving to be increasingly successful. The control fields can be complex, and the mechanisms by which they operate have often remained obscure. Hamiltonian encoding (HE) has been proposed as a method for understanding mechanisms in quantum dynamics. In this context mechanism is defined in terms of the dominant quantum pathways leading to the final state of the controlled system. HE operates by encoding a special modulation into the Hamiltonian and decoding its signature in the dynamics to determine the dominant pathway amplitudes. Earlier work encoded the modulation directly into the Hamiltonian operators. This present work introduces the alternative scheme of field based HE, where the modulation is encoded into the control field and not directly into the Hamiltonian operators. This distinct form of modulation yields a new perspective on mechanism and is computationally faster than the earlier approach. Field based encoding is also an important step towards a laboratory based algorithm for HE as it is the only form of encoding that may be experimentally executed. HE is also extended to cover systems with noise and uncertainty and finally, a hierarchical algorithm is introduced to reveal mechanism in a stepwise fashion of ever increasing detail as desired. This new hierarchical algorithm is an improvement over earlier approaches to HE where the entire mechanism was determined in one stroke. The improvement comes from the use of less complex modulation schemes, which leads to fewer evaluations of Schrödinger's equation. A number of simulations are presented on simple systems to illustrate the new field based encoding technique for mechanism assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number194107
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number19
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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