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Section: Research Program

System theory for quantum information processing

In parallel and in strong interactions with the above experimental goals, we develop systematic mathematical methods for dynamical analysis, control and estimation of composite and open quantum systems. These systems are built with several quantum subsystems whose irreversible dynamics results from measurements and/or decoherence. A special attention is given to spin/spring systems made with qubits and harmonic oscillators. These developments are done in the spirit of our recent contributions  [82], [29], [90], [84], [91][9], [1] resulting from collaborations with the cavity quantum electrodynamics group of Laboratoire Kastler Brossel.

Stabilization by measurement-based feedback

The protection of quantum information via efficient QEC is a combination of (i) tailored dynamics of a quantum system in order to protect an informational qubit from certain decoherence channels, and (ii) controlled reaction to measurements that efficiently detect and correct the dominating disturbances that are not rejected by the tailored quantum dynamics.

In such feedback scheme, the system and its measurement are quantum objects whereas the controller and the control input are classical. The stabilizing control law is based on the past values of the measurement outcomes. During our work on the LKB photon box, we have developed, for single input systems subject to quantum non-demolition measurement, a systematic stabilization method  [1]: it is based on a discrete-time formulation of the dynamics, on the construction of a strict control Lyapunov function and on an explicit compensation of the feedback-loop delay. Keeping the QND measurement assumptions, extensions of such stabilization schemes will be investigated in the following directions: finite set of values for the control input with application to the convergence analysis of the atomic feedback scheme experimentally tested in  [98]; multi-input case where the construction by inversion of a Metzler matrix of the strict Lyapunov function is not straightforward; continuous-time systems governed by diffusive master equations; stabilization towards a set of density operators included in a target subspace; adaptive measurement by feedback to accelerate the convergence towards a stationary state as experimentally tested in  [76]. Without the QND measurement assumptions, we will also address the stabilization of non-stationary states and trajectory tracking, with applications to systems similar to those considered in  [58], [39].

Filtering, quantum state and parameter estimations

The performance of every feedback controller crucially depends on its online estimation of the current situation. This becomes even more important for quantum systems, where full state measurements are physically impossible. Therefore the ultimate performance of feedback correction depends on fast, efficient and optimally accurate state and parameter estimations.

A quantum filter takes into account imperfection and decoherence and provides the quantum state at time t0 from an initial value at t=0 and the measurement outcomes between 0 and t. Quantum filtering goes back to the work of Belavkin   [33] and is related to quantum trajectories  [41], [44]. A modern and mathematical exposure of the diffusive models is given in  [31]. In  [99] a first convergence analysis of diffusive filters is proposed. Nevertheless the convergence characterization and estimation of convergence rate remain open and difficult problems. For discrete time filters, a general stability result based on fidelity is proven in  [82], [90]. This stability result is extended to a large class of continuous-time filters in  [30]. Further efforts are required to characterize asymptotic and exponential stability. Estimations of convergence rates are available only for quantum non-demolition measurements  [34]. Parameter estimations based on measurement data of quantum trajectories can be formulated within such quantum filtering framework  [49], [74].

We will continue to investigate stability and convergence of quantum filtering. We will also exploit our fidelity-based stability result to justify maximum likelihood estimation and to propose, for open quantum system, parameter estimation algorithms inspired of existing estimation algorithms for classical systems. We will also investigate a more specific quantum approach: it is noticed in  [38] that post-selection statistics and “past quantum” state analysis  [50] enhance sensitivity to parameters and could be interesting towards increasing the precision of an estimation.

Stabilization by interconnections

In such stabilization schemes, the controller is also a quantum object: it is coupled to the system of interest and is subject to decoherence and thus admits an irreversible evolution. These stabilization schemes are closely related to reservoir engineering and coherent feedback   [78], [69]. The closed-loop system is then a composite system built with the original system and its controller. In fact, and given our particular recent expertise in this domain [9] [87], [54], this subsection is dedicated to further developing such stabilization techniques, both experimentally and theoretically.

The main analysis issues are to prove the closed-loop convergence and to estimate the convergence rates. Since these systems are governed by Lindblad differential equations (continuous-time case) or Kraus maps (discrete-time case), their stability is automatically guaranteed: such dynamics are contractions for a large set of metrics (see  [77]). Convergence and asymptotic stability is less well understood. In particular most of the convergence results consider the case where the target steady-state is a density operator of maximum rank (see, e.g., [28][chapter 4, section 6]). When the goal steady-state is not full rank very few convergence results are available.

We will focus on this geometric situation where the goal steady-state is on the boundary of the cone of positive Hermitian operators of finite trace. A specific attention will be given to adapt standard tools (Lyapunov function, passivity, contraction and Lasalle's invariance principle) for infinite dimensional systems to spin/spring structures inspired of [9], [7] [87], [54] and their associated Fokker-Planck equations for the Wigner functions.

We will also explore the Heisenberg point of view in connection with recent results of the Inria project-team MAXPLUS (algorithms and applications of algebras of max-plus type) relative to Perron-Frobenius theory  [53], [52]. We will start with  [86] and  [79] where, based on a theorem due to Birkhoff  [35], dual Lindblad equations and dual Kraus maps governing the Heisenberg evolution of any operator are shown to be contractions on the cone of Hermitian operators equipped with Hilbert's projective metric. As the Heisenberg picture is characterized by convergence of all operators to a multiple of the identity, it might provide a mean to circumvent the rank issues. We hope that such contraction tools will be especially well adapted to analyzing quantum systems composed of multiple components, motivated by the facts that the same geometry describes the contraction of classical systems undergoing synchronizing interactions [94] and by our recent generalized extension of the latter synchronizing interactions to quantum systems [70].

Besides these analysis tasks, the major challenge in stabilization by interconnections is to provide systematic methods for the design, from typical building blocks, of control systems that stabilize a specific quantum goal (state, set of states, operation) when coupled to the target system. While constructions exist for so-called linear quantum systems [75], this does not cover the states that are more interesting for quantum applications. Various strategies have been proposed that concatenate iterative control steps for open-loop steering [96], [67] with experimental limitations. The characterization of Kraus maps to stabilize any types of states has also been established [36], but without considering experimental implementations. A viable stabilization by interaction has to combine the capabilities of these various approaches, and this is a missing piece that we want to address.

Perturbation methods

With this subsection we turn towards more fundamental developments that are necessary in order to address the complexity of quantum networks with efficient reduction techniques. This should yield both efficient mathematical methods, as well as insights towards unravelling dominant physical phenomena/mechanisms in multipartite quantum dynamical systems.

In the Schrödinger point of view, the dynamics of open quantum systems are governed by master equations, either deterministic or stochastic  [57], [51]. Dynamical models of composite systems are based on tensor products of Hilbert spaces and operators attached to the constitutive subsystems. Generally, a hierarchy of different timescales is present. Perturbation techniques can be very useful to construct reliable models adapted to the timescale of interest.

To eliminate high frequency oscillations possibly induced by quasi-resonant classical drives, averaging techniques are used (rotating wave approximation). These techniques are well established for closed systems without any dissipation nor irreversible effect due to measurement or decoherence. We will consider in a first step the adaptation of these averaging techniques to deterministic Lindblad master equations governing the quantum state, i.e. the system density operator. Emphasis will be put on first order and higher order corrections based on non-commutative computations with the different operators appearing in the Lindblad equations. Higher order terms could be of some interest for the protected logical qubit of figure 1b. In future steps, we intend to explore the possibility to explicitly exploit averaging or singular perturbation properties in the design of coherent quantum feedback systems; this should be an open-systems counterpart of works like [65].

To eliminate subsystems subject to fast convergence induced by decoherence, singular perturbation techniques can be used. They provide reduced models of smaller dimension via the adiabatic elimination of the rapidly converging subsystems. The derivation of the slow dynamics is far from being obvious (see, e.g., the computations of page 142 in  [40] for the adiabatic elimination of low-Q cavity). Conversely to the classical composite systems where we have to eliminate one component in a Cartesian product, we here have to eliminate one component in a tensor product. We will adapt geometric singular perturbations  [48] and invariant manifold techniques  [42] to such tensor product computations to derive reduced slow approximations of any order. Such adaptations will be very useful in the context of quantum Zeno dynamics to obtain approximations of the slow dynamics on the decoherence-free subspace corresponding to the slow attractive manifold.

Perturbation methods are also precious to analyze convergence rates. Deriving the spectrum attached to the Lindblad differential equation is not obvious. We will focus on the situation where the decoherence terms of the form LρL-(LLρ+ρLL)/2 are small compared to the conservative terms -i[H/,ρ]. The difficulty to overcome here is the degeneracy of the unperturbed spectrum attached to the conservative evolution ddtρ=-i[H/,ρ]. The degree of degeneracy of the zero eigenvalue always exceeds the dimension of the Hilbert space. Adaptations of usual perturbation techniques  [60] will be investigated. They will provide estimates of convergence rates for slightly open quantum systems. We expect that such estimates will help to understand the dependence on the experimental parameters of the convergence rates observed in  [54], [87], [66].

As particular outcomes for the other subsections, we expect that these developments towards simpler dominant dynamics will guide the search for optimal control strategies, both in open-loop microwave networks and in autonomous stabilization schemes such as reservoir engineering. It will further help to efficiently compute explicit convergence rates and quantitative performances for all the intended experiments.