Role of controllability in optimizing quantum dynamics

Re Bing Wu, Michael A. Hsieh, Herschel Rabitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This paper reveals an important role that controllability plays in the complexity of optimizing quantum control dynamics. We show that the loss of controllability generally leads to multiple locally suboptimal controls when gate fidelity in a quantum control system is maximized, which does not happen if the system is controllable. Such local suboptimal controls may attract an optimization algorithm into a local trap when a global optimal solution is sought, even if the target gate can be perfectly realized. This conclusion results from an analysis of the critical topology of the corresponding quantum control landscape, which refers to the gate fidelity objective as a functional of the control fields. For uncontrollable systems, due to SU(2) and SU(3) dynamical symmetries, the control landscape corresponding to an implementable target gate is proven to possess multiple locally optimal critical points, and its ruggedness can be further increased if the target gate is not realizable. These results imply that the optimization of quantum dynamics can be seriously impeded when operating with local search algorithms under these conditions, and thus full controllability is demanded.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number062306
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 7 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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