On the validity of the rotating wave approximation for coupled harmonic oscillators

T. Heib, P. Lageyre, A. Ferreri, F.K. Wilhelm, G.S. Paraoanu, D. Burgarth, A.W. Schell, D.E. Bruschi

In this work we study the validity of the rotating wave approximation of an ideal system composed of two harmonic oscillators evolving with a quadratic Hamiltonian and arbitrarily strong interaction. We solve the dynamics analytically by employing tools from symplectic geometry. We focus on systems with initial Gaussian states and quantify exactly the deviation between the state obtained through the rotating approximation and the state obtained through the full evolution, therefore providing an answer for all values of the coupling. We find that the squeezing present in the full Hamiltonian and in the initial state governs the deviation from the approximated evolution. Furthermore, we also show that the rotating wave approximation is recovered for resonant frequencies and vanishing coupling to frequency ratio. Finally, we give a general proof of the rotating wave approximation and estimate its convergence on Fock states. Applications and potential physical implementations are also discussed. 

Central Charge in Quantum Optics

D. Burgarth, P. Facchi, H. Nakazato, S. Pascazio, K. Yuasa

The product of two unitaries can normally be expressed as a single exponential through the famous Baker-Campbell-Hausdorff formula. We present here a counterexample in quantum optics, by showing that an expression in terms of a single exponential is possible only at the expense of the introduction of a new element (a central extension of the algebra), implying that there will be unitaries, generated by a sequence of gates, that cannot be generated by any time-independent quadratic Hamiltonian. A quantum-optical experiment is proposed that brings to light this phenomenon.

Double or nothing: a Kolmogorov extension theorem for multitime (bi)probabilities in quantum mechanics

D. Lonigro, F. Sakuldee, Ł. Cywiński, D. Chruściński, P. Szańkowski

The multitime probability distributions obtained by repeatedly probing a quantum system via the measurement of an observable generally violate Kolmogorov's consistency property. Therefore, one cannot interpret such distributions as the result of the sampling of a single trajectory. We show that, nonetheless, they do result from the sampling of one pair of trajectories. In this sense, rather than give up on trajectories, quantum mechanics requires to double down on them. To this purpose, we prove a generalization of the Kolmogorov extension theorem that applies to families of complex-valued bi-probability distributions (that is, defined on pairs of elements of the original sample spaces), and we employ this result in the quantum mechanical scenario. We also discuss the relation of our results with the quantum comb formalism. 

Global approximate controllability of quantum systems by form perturbations and applications 

A. Balmaseda, D. Lonigro, J. M. Pérez-Pardo

We provide sufficient conditions for the approximate controllability of infinite-dimensional quantum control systems corresponding to form perturbations of the drift Hamiltonian modulated by a control function. We rely on previous results on controllability of quantum bilinear control systems and obtain a priori L1-bounds of the controls for generic initial and target states. We apply a stability result for the non-autonomous Schrödinger equation to extend the results to systems defined by form perturbations, including singular perturbations. As an application of our results, we prove approximate controllability of a quantum particle in a one-dimensional box with a point-interaction with tuneable strength at the centre of the box.

Strong Error Bounds for Trotter & Strang-Splittings and Their Implications for Quantum Chemistry

D. Burgarth, P. Facchi, A. Hahn, M. Johnsson, K. Yuasa

Efficient error estimates for the Trotter product formula are central in quantum computing, mathematical physics, and numerical simulations. However, the Trotter error's dependency on the input state and its application to unbounded operators remains unclear. Here, we present a general theory for error estimation, including higher-order product formulas, with explicit input state dependency. Our approach overcomes two limitations of the existing operator-norm estimates in the literature. First, previous bounds are too pessimistic as they quantify the worst-case scenario. Second, previous bounds become trivial for unbounded operators and cannot be applied to a wide class of Trotter scenarios, including atomic and molecular Hamiltonians. Our method enables analytical treatment of Trotter errors in chemistry simulations, illustrated through a case study on the hydrogen atom. Our findings reveal: (i) for states with fat-tailed energy distribution, such as low-angular-momentum states of the hydrogen atom, the Trotter error scales worse than expected (sublinearly) in the number of Trotter steps; (ii) certain states do not admit an advantage in the scaling from higher-order Trotterization, and thus, the higher-order Trotter hierarchy breaks down for these states, including the hydrogen atom's ground state; (iii) the scaling of higher-order Trotter bounds might depend on the order of the Hamiltonians in the Trotter product for states with fat-tailed energy distribution. Physically, the enlarged Trotter error is caused by the atom's ionization due to the Trotter dynamics. Mathematically, we find that certain domain conditions are not satisfied by some states so higher moments of the potential and kinetic energies diverge. Our analytical error analysis agrees with numerical simulations, indicating that we can estimate the state-dependent Trotter error scaling genuinely. 

Open loop linear control of quadratic Hamiltonians with applications

M.T. Johnsson, D. Burgarth

The quantum harmonic oscillator is one of the most fundamental objects in physics. We consider the case where it is extended to an arbitrary number modes and includes all possible terms that are bilinear in the annihilation and creation operators, and assume we also have an arbitrary time-dependent drive term that is linear in those operators. Such a Hamiltonian is very general, covering a broad range of systems including quantum optics, superconducting circuit QED, quantum error correcting codes, Bose-Einstein condensates, atomic wave packet transport beyond the adiabatic limit and many others. We examine this situation from the point of view of quantum control, making use of optimal control theory to determine what can be accomplished, both when the controls are arbitrary and when they must minimize some cost function. In particular we develop a class of analytical pulses. We then apply our theory to a number of specific topical physical systems to illustrate its use and provide explicit control functions, including the case of the continuously driven conditional displacement gate.

Taming the rotating-wave approximation

D.Burgarth, P. Facchi, R. Hillier, M. Ligabò

The interaction between light and matter is one of the oldest research areas of quantum mechanics, and a field that just keeps on delivering new insights and applications. With the arrival of cavity and circuit quantum electrodynamics we can now achieve strong light-matter couplings which form the basis of most implementations of quantum technology. But quantum information processing also has high demands requiring total error rates of fractions of percentage in order to be scalable (fault-tolerant) to useful applications. Since errors can also arise from modelling, this has brought into center stage one of the key approximations of quantum theory, the Rotating Wave Approximation (RWA) of the quantum Rabi model, leading to the Jaynes-Cummings Hamiltonian. While the RWA is often very good and incredibly useful to understand light-matter interactions, there is also growing experimental evidence of regimes where it is a bad approximation. Here, we ask and answer a harder question: for which experimental parameters is the RWA, although perhaps qualitatively adequate, already not good enough to match the demands of scalable quantum technology? For example, when is the error at least, and when at most, 1\%? To answer this, we develop rigorous non-perturbative bounds taming the RWA.
We find that these bounds not only depend, as expected, on the ratio of the coupling strength and the oscillator frequency, but also on the average number of photons in the initial state. This confirms recent experiments on photon-dressed Bloch-Siegert shifts. We argue that with experiments reporting controllable cavity states with hundreds of photons and with quantum error correcting codes exploring more and more of Fock space, this state-dependency of the RWA is increasingly relevant for the field of quantum computation, and our results pave the way towards a better understanding of those experiments.