Control of Open Quantum Systems

Juha Salmilehto

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Accurate control of a quantum system is complicated to achieve partly due to the system being coupled to its surrounding environment. The coupling induces dissipation and decoherence not only destroying the coherent quantum state but making the application of control unpredictable. When the control results from manipulation of external fields, it is usually referred to as driving and its joint effect with decoherence constitutes an active field of study in reduced-density-operator theory. Recently, this field has been pushed forward by its necessity in simulating Cooper pair pumping where the geometric nature of quantum evolution allows for controlled transport of charge carriers in superconducting circuits. Such circuits themselves are under constant investigation as they grant access to fundamental quantum phenomena and facilitate promising applications such as those in quantum information processing. In this dissertation, driven quantum systems under decoherence are investigated. Extensions and improvements to a recent master equation for nearly adiabatic driving are presented and analyzed. The emergent properties in quantum evolution are studied both analytically and numerically. Related to the findings, a general conservation law of operator current is derived and used to explain observed nonconservation in previous theoretical studies. The derived theory is applied to Cooper-pair pumping and shown to lead to important properties such as superadiabatic ground-state pumping. A recent pumping experiment is simulated and the breakdown point for ideal pumping is found with feasible physical parameters. A study of charge transport in the presence of flux noise is presented leading to detectable dissipative currents and the typical description of the device used for pumping is extended to include a nonvanishing loop inductance. A novel approach to implement control of quantum systems is proposed based on constructing a tunable coupling to an artificial environment using either a coplanar waveguide cavity or coupled quantum LC resonators. Tunability allowing for both efficient initialization and protected evolution is theoretically demonstrated. Finally, a general framework for quantum driving is constructed without the typical assumption of a classical driving force leading to peculiar results. This dissertation presents original research on both modeling the control of open quantum systems as well as the realization of such control. The work simulates physical phenomena in superconducting circuits and makes predictions for future experiments. In addition, it introduces novel theoretical tools and approaches that advance the state of the art.
Translated title of the contributionAvointen kvanttisysteemien hallinta
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Nieminen, Risto, Supervisor
  • Möttönen, Mikko, Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-5767-5
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-5768-2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • quantum system
  • decoherence
  • Cooper pair

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