Past and Present – ScienceDaily
One of the cornerstones of implementing quantum technology is creating and manipulating the shape of external fields that can optimize the performance of quantum devices. Known as quantum optimal control, this set of methods comprises a field that has rapidly evolved and expanded in recent years.
A new review article published in EPJ quantum technology and authored by Christiane P. Koch, Dahlem Center for Complex Quantum Systems and Fachbereich Physik, Freie Universität Berlin with colleagues from across Europe assesses recent advances in understanding the controllability of quantum systems as well as the application of quantum control to quantum technologies. As such, it presents a potential roadmap for future technologies.
While quantum optimal control draws on conventional control theory encompassing the interface of applied mathematics, engineering, and physics, it must also consider the quirks and counterintuitive nature of quantum physics. .
This includes superposition, the concept that a quantum system can exist in multiple states at once, one of the keys to the advanced computing power of machines that rely on quantum bits – or qubits.
Ultimately, the primary goal of quantum optimal control is to ensure that emerging quantum technologies operate at their optimum performance and reach their physical limits.
“Each device architecture has specific limits associated with it, but these limits are often not reached by more traditional methods of using the device,” Koch says. “The use of pulse shaping can push devices to the limits in terms of accuracy or speed of operation that are fundamentally possible.”
The authors of this review examine factors in the discipline, including the extent to which a quantum system can be established, controlled, and observed without causing this superposition to collapse, which seriously hampers the stability of quantum computers.
The review also suggests that just as conventional engineers have a theoretical framework of control to build on, training future “quantum engineers” may require a similar framework that has yet to be developed.
A quantum system that unifies theory and experiment is one of the current research goals in the field, with the authors pointing out that this will also form the basis for the development of optimal control strategies.
In addition to assessing recent progress towards this goal, the team outlined some of the obstacles that may arise on the ground. Obstacles that will need to be overcome if a quantum technological future is to manifest.
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