Spingineering: Quantum Control in the Presence of Relaxation

Recht, B. "Spingineering: Quantum Control in the Presence of Relaxation"


For certain problems quantum resources can exponentially increase computing power, but these quantum resources are very fragile in practice. When a quantum system interacts with an external environment, it undergoes decoherence - the loss of quantum correlation - and relaxation - the loss of energy - and eventually all of the quantum information is lost.

Here we show a general principle of using unitary operators to suppress relaxation processes. Unitary operations do not cool a quantum system and seem an unlikely candidate for preventing irreversible thermodynamic heating processes, but surprisingly most decoherence processes can be corrected or ameliorated using open loop control with unitary controllers.

We examine the different mechanisms of decoherence and relaxation on simple spin systems and discuss when the modes can be corrected. We show experimentally the feasibility of our correction schemes using nuclear magnetic resonance. We also demonstrate control of the nuclear spins over long time scales. Finally, we discuss the applications of unitary correction to higher dimensional systems and the potential applications to quantum information processing.

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