Steering and reversing quantum dynamics

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Driving the complex dynamics of physical systems to perform a specific task is extremely useful but challenging in several fields of science, and especially for fragile quantum mechanical systems. Even harder, and often unfeasible, is to invert the time arrow of the dynamics, undoing some physical process. We theoretically and experimentally drive forth and back through several paths in the five-level Hilbert space of a Rubidium atom in the ground state. We achieve such an objective applying optimal control strategies to a Bose-Einstein condensate on an Atom chip via a frequency modulated RF field. We further prove that backward dynamical evolution does not correspond to simply inverting the time arrow of the driving field neglecting the only-system part of the dynamics. Apart from the relevance for the foundations of quantum mechanics, these results are important steps forward in the manipulation of quantum dynamics that is crucial for several physical implementations and very promisingly powerful quantum technologies.

C. Lovecchio et al.,
Optimal preparation of quantum states on an atom chip device
Phys. Rev. A 93, 010304(R) (2016)