This project is concerned with the theoretical study of confined quantum optical systems, with the aim of developing a fundamental understanding of few and many-particle systems, as well as engineering techniques for applications in quantum information processing (QIP) with the tools of quantum optimal control theory (QOCT). The main objective of the present project is to bring QOCT and QIP together in order to render the realisation of scalable quantum hardware feasible. The project has been divided in three subprojects: the first one aims to use QOCT to efficiently and quickly move ions between different spatial locations of a ion-chip quantum processor; the second one deals with the transport of Bose-Einstein condensates and the production of non-classical states of these in neighbouring micro-traps by means of QOCT; the last subproject concerns the application of QOCT to engineer quantum phase transitions of many-body systems for QIP purposes, such as the generation of quantum superpositions of macroscopically distinct phases as a result of non-adiabatic dynamics. The last subproject is the most innovative part of the whole project because to our knowledge QOCT has been applied only to single or few particles so far, without exploring the physics that arises from multi-particle entanglement. An important issue that the project aims to address is the development of techniques to deal with presence of noise, dissipation and imperfections, since this is a yet unsolved issue. This is of crucial importance for QIP because to perform quantum operations one needs to reach the demanding thresholds of fault-tolerant quantum computing, that are basically unattainable without optimal control. All of these objectives address some of the most relevant and challenging topics in quantum computing, quantum control and condensed-matter physics today, and will therefore have an important impact on the scientific community and on technological applications of quantum physics.
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