From Quantum Theory to Technology through Characterization and Control of Quantum Devices

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics

Abstract

Quantum technology has enormous potential to revolutionize many areas of science and technology from computing and communication, to chemical engineering and material science. For instance, quantum computers could perform certain tasks much faster than ordinary computers, quantum communication systems such a quantum internet could guarantee secure communication, and quantum control of chemical reactions might lead to the discovery of new drugs or materials, to mention only a few promising applications. As for any device, whether this be a car, computer or toaster, control is essential to ensure that the device functions as intended, and optimizing the device performance by optimizing our control of the device is usually a non-trivial problem. However, control of quantum devices is particularly challenging. One reason for this is quantum coherence, a special property of quantum systems that all quantum devices exploit. Unfortunately, quantum coherence is very fragile, easily destroyed through uncontrolled interactions of the system with its environment, and not easy to control in general. One of the main objectives of this project is to address this problem and find optimal ways to control quantum devices coherently. In addition to the fragile nature of quantum coherence, realizing this aim is complicated by the fact that no manufactured device will ever be perfect, and device imperfections such as small variations in size and shape of a particular element, can be very detrimental to our ability to control the system effectively. Hence, another important aspect of the project is to look at the sensitivity of various control strategies (and ways of encoding information in quantum systems) to device imperfections. It is hoped that understanding the effect of device imperfections will allow us to design more robust strategies, which is essential if we are to build quantum devices that work in the real world.Finally, the variations of manufactured devices mean that before we can actually hope to control the operation of the device, we must first identify experimentally what the effect of certain control influences on the system is. A simple example is a toaster with a control knob to adjust how long we wish the bread to be toasted. If it is a new toaster some experimentation with the position of the knob may be required to find the right position of the knob for perfect toast. For a simple calibration problem such as this, trial and error is usually sufficient to achieve satisfactory results after a few trials. For complex devices, and especially quantum devices, more efficient and systematic ways to experimentally characterize the device and its interaction with the control apparatus are required. This is essential before we can optimize the control to achieve robust operation of the device, and is another key objective of the project.

Publications

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Chatzisavvas K (2009) Improving quantum gate fidelities using optimized Euler angles in Physical Review A

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De Fouquieres P (2011) Second order gradient ascent pulse engineering. in Journal of magnetic resonance (San Diego, Calif. : 1997)

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J Devitt S (2007) Subspace confinement: how good is your qubit? in New Journal of Physics

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Nigmatullin R (2009) Implementation of fault-tolerant quantum logic gates via optimal control in New Journal of Physics

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Oi DK (2012) Quantum system characterization with limited resources. in Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/D07195X/1 01/10/2006 01/08/2011 £451,215
EP/D07195X/2 Transfer EP/D07195X/1 02/08/2011 01/05/2012 £39,072
 
Description The project has generated significant amounts of new knowledge in the area of characterization and control of quantum systems as reflected in numerous publications. The results highlight the practical challenges of creating functional devices for quantum information processing but have lead to promising new research projects on applications in medical imaging and spintronics.
Exploitation Route We are currently pursuing applications in electronics / spintronics and medical imaging and spectroscopy (e.g. MR pulse design) in collaboration with various parties. System identification tools developed could be used to create improved data-driven models for biological systems/tissue and its response to external fields (e.g. RF pulses).
Sectors Electronics,Healthcare

 
Description NHS
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Improvements in education and skill levels of workforce (training of MR physicists, training of technical staff), improvements in clinical service delivery (ongoing)
 
Description QUAINT (EU Coordination Action)
Amount € 399,000 (EUR)
Funding ID QUAINT 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 08/2012 
End 07/2015
 
Description Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship
Amount £41,941 (GBP)
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2014 
End 08/2015
 
Description Cardiff University, Wales 
Organisation Cardiff University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Academic collaboration that has resulted in several joint publications and mutual research visits.
Start Year 2007
 
Description Developing new diagnostic tools based on quantification of biomarkers using MRI 
Organisation National Health Service
PI Contribution Developing new diagnostic tools based on quantification of biomarkers using MRI, analysis of existing patient data to improve screening protocols, identify shortcomings in existing protocols, develop new protocols, identify topics for further research such as potential targets for biomarkers, improve QA and equipment calibration etc.
Collaborator Contribution Providing funding for studentships, access to equipment and anonymized patient data, clinical input and feedback
Impact 2 PhD studentships co-sponsored by ABMU, identified problems with existing screening protocols and developed improved protocols (e.g., local prostate cancer screening using advanced MRI techniques), publications in progress
Start Year 2014
 
Description Hitachi Cambridge Laboratories, UK 
Organisation Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Collaboration with Hitachi Cambridge Laboratories
Start Year 2006
 
Description National University of Defense Technology, Changsha, China 
Organisation National University of Defense Technology
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration that has resulted in several publications, research visiting, and student and faculty exchanges.
Start Year 2008
 
Description National University of Singapore, Singapore 
Organisation National University of Singapore
Country Singapore 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Academic collaboration that has resulted in several visits to Singapore and some publications.
Start Year 2004
 
Description RMIT, Melbourne, Australia 
Organisation RMIT University
Country Australia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Academic collaboration that has resulted in several publications and mutual research visits.
Start Year 2011
 
Description Southampton University, England 
Organisation University of Southampton
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Academic collaboration that has resulted in joint publications and mutual research visits and also an EU coordination action.
Start Year 2008
 
Description Strathclyde University, Scotland 
Organisation University of Strathclyde
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Academic collaboration that has resulted in several publications and many mutual research visits.
Start Year 2002
 
Description Swansea University, Wales 
Organisation Swansea University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Academic collaboration that has resulted in new ideas for joint academic projects and my taking up a senior academic position at Swansea university.
Start Year 2011
 
Description TU Munich, Germany 
Organisation Technical University of Munich
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Academic Collaboration that has resulted in several joint publications and research visits.
Start Year 2008
 
Description University College London, England 
Organisation University College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Academic collaboration that has resulted in joint publications and research visits.
Start Year 2007
 
Description University of Kuopio, Finland 
Organisation University of Eastern Finland
Country Finland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Academic collaboration that has resulted in a visiting professorship at the University of Kuopio (now Eastern Finland) as Marie Curie Fellow in 2008.
Start Year 2007
 
Description University of Melbourne, Australia 
Organisation University of Massachusetts
Department University of Massachusetts Medical School
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration with Lloyd Hollenberg, Andrew Greentree, Jared Cole, Simon Devitt, Gajendran Kandasamy
Start Year 2006
 
Description University of Padua, Italy 
Organisation University of Padova
Country Italy 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Academic collaboration that has resulted in mutual research visits and joint publications.
Start Year 2007
 
Description University of Southern California, USA 
Organisation University of Southern California
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Academic collaboration that has resulted in several joint publications and mutual research visits.
Start Year 2008
 
Description Aberystwyth University Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Seminar Talk in Maths/Physics.

The talk sparked interesting discussions that have resulted in new ideas and publications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description Birmingham University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Seminar Talk in Physics.

The talk sparked stimulating discussions but there were no immediate notable impacts.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description Chinese National Academy of the Sciences Seminar (China) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Seminar in Mathematical Control Division.

The talk sparked interesting discussions that have resulted in new ideas and publications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Imperial University Physics Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Seminar Talk in Physics.

The talk sparked interesting discussions that have resulted in new ideas and publications and a new collaboration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Institute for Quantum Computing Waterloo Seminar (Canada) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact http://iqc.uwaterloo.ca/news-events/calendar/generated/sophie-schirmer-2011-4-15
.

The talk sparked interesting discussions that have resulted in new ideas and publications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL http://iqc.uwaterloo.ca/news-events/calendar/generated/sophie-schirmer-2011-4-15
 
Description Institute for Quantum Computing Waterloo Seminar 2 (Canada) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact http://iqc.uwaterloo.ca/news-events/calendar/generated/sophie-schirmer-2011-4-11.

The talk sparked interesting discussions that have resulted in new ideas and publications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL http://iqc.uwaterloo.ca/news-events/calendar/generated/sophie-schirmer-2011-4-11
 
Description LSS-Supelec Seminar (France) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Quantum System Identification: Hamiltonian tomography and decoherence estimation from time series data.

http://www.l2s.supelec.fr/seminaires-automatique/seminar.html
.

The talk sparked interesting discussions that have resulted in new ideas and publications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL http://www.l2s.supelec.fr/seminaires-automatique/seminar.htm
 
Description Leeds University Physics Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Seminar Talk in Physics.

The talk sparked interesting discussions that have resulted in new ideas and publications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description National Science Week 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Exhibits and hands-on activities for the general public. The main aim was to inspire curiosity about science and spark discussion and interest in further info, which it did.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://quantumcontrol.eu/tags/popular-science
 
Description National University of Defense Technology Seminar (China) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Seminar talk in Physics.

The talk sparked interesting discussions that have resulted in new ideas and publications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Quantum Engineering 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A public outreach event as part of the National Science Week, co-sponsored by Welsh Goverment.

Increased public interest in and awareness of quantum technologies, the role they play in our lives and their future potential. There was definitively engagement with the audience -- whether this translated into more students applying to study physics, I don't know.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description Strathclyde University Physics Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Seminar Talk in Physics.

The talk sparked interesting discussions that have resulted in new ideas and publications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Sussex University Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Seminar Talk in Physics.

There were interesting discussions but there were no immediate notable impacts.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description Tsinghua University Seminar (China) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Seminar Talk in Physics/Control.The talk sparked interesting discussions that have resulted in new ideas and publications.

The talk sparked interesting discussions that have resulted in new ideas and publications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description University College London, Physics Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Seminar Talk in Physics.

The talk sparked interesting discussions that have resulted in new ideas and publications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description University of Calgary Physics Seminar (Canada) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Quantum System Identification: Hamiltonian tomography and

decoherence estimation from noisy time series data
.

The talk sparked interesting discussions that have resulted in new ideas and joint publications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description University of Helsinki Physics Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Seminar Talk in Physics.

The talk sparked interesting discussions that have resulted in new ideas and publications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description University of Nottingham 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Seminar talk in Stochastic Processes Group.

The talk sparked interesting discussions that have resulted in new ideas and publications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description University of Oregon, Physics Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Seminar Talk in Theoretical Science/Physics.

The talk sparked interesting discussions that have resulted in new ideas and publications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description University of Southern California Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Seminar talk in Physics/Engineering.

The talk sparked interesting discussions that have resulted in new ideas and publications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Urdd Eistedfodd (Wales) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Hands on activities and demonstrations in science tent to allow public to explore science, including setting up a low field NMR/MRI machine that anyone could operate to learn about NMR spectroscopy, MRI and quantum control of spin dynamics and applications in a fun way.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Work-study Projects 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Students from local schools complete 1-week projects of their choice learning about quantum physics and its practical applications, and exciting future prospects of nano-technology at the quantum edge. This is an ongoing activity.

The feedback from the students was fantastic and the department has since scaled up the activity to allow more students to participate. Several of the students who participated have since enrolled in physics or related university programmes. Probably one of our most successful outreach activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012