Section: Application Domains

Quantum Control

These applications started by a collaboration between B. Bonnard and D. Sugny (a physicist from ICB) in the ANR project Comoc, localized mainly at the University of Dijon. The problem was the control of the orientation of a molecule using a laser field, with a model that does take into account the dissipation due to the interaction with the environment, molecular collisions for instance. The model is a dissipative generalization of the finite dimensional Schrödinger equation, known as Lindblad equation. It is a 3-dimensional system depending upon 3 parameters, yielding a very complicated optimal control problem that we have solved for prescribed boundary conditions. In particular we have computed the minimum time control and the minimum energy control for the orientation or a two-level system, using geometric optimal control and appropriate numerical methods (shooting and numerical continuation)  [29] , [28] .

More recently, based on this project, we have reoriented our control activity towards Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (MNR). In MNR medical imaging, the contrast problem is the one of designing a variation of the magnetic field with respect to time that maximizes the difference, on the resulting image, between two different chemical species; this is the “contrast”. This research is conducted with Prof. S. Glaser (TU-München), whose group is performing both in vivo and in vitro experiments; experiments using our techniques have successfully measured the improvement in contrast between materials chemical species that have an importance in medicine, like oxygenated and de-oxygenated blood, see  [27] ; this is however still to be investigated and improved. The model is the Bloch equation for spin 12 particles, that can be interpreted as a sub-case of Lindblad equation for a two-level system; the control problem to solve amounts to driving in minimum time the magnetization vector of the spin to zero (for parameters of the system corresponding to one of the species), and generalizations where such spin 12 particles are coupled: double spin inversion for instance.

Note that a reference book by B. Bonnard and D. Sugny has been published on the topic  [30] .