Quantum brachistochrone

Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2022 Dec 26;380(2239):20210273. doi: 10.1098/rsta.2021.0273. Epub 2022 Nov 7.


Quantum brachistochrone (QB) is a quantum analogue of classical brachistochrone (shortest path). It is a solution to the following problem: How can we perform a desired quantum operation (or obtain a desired final quantum state) most quickly, by a time-dependent Hamiltonian subject to given constraints? Finding QB is a fundamental problem in quantum mechanics in its own right. Moreover, it will be useful in the study of quantum information and quantum engineering, such as quantum speed limits and implementations of quantum computers. A general framework for finding QBs, called QB formalism, has been developed. It is based on Pontryagin's maximum principle. We review the basics of the QB formalism, give simple examples, and briefly discuss some related studies. This article is part of the theme issue 'Shortcuts to adiabaticity: theoretical, experimental and interdisciplinary perspectives'.

Keywords: quantum brachistochrone; quantum control; quantum information; quantum operation; time optimality.

Publication types

  • Review