We propose a theoretical investigation of the practical use of quantum optical systems for the implementation of quantum information processing. Employing a range of techniques and approaches, we will pursue the general scientific objective of identifying and characterizing optimized procedures for high-fidelity, robust and efficient quantum memories and gates involving atomic and condensed-matter systems. The main focus will be on coherent control of individual atoms in microscopic potentials. Existing gat e proposals will be improved and new schemes will be proposed, relying on one hand on interaction mechanisms (e.g., molecular couplings) not yet fully exploited for enhancing entangling operations, and on the other hand on quantum optimal control methods t o increase gate fidelities. Particular attention will be paid to the choice of qubit degrees of freedom and of manipulation procedures intrinsically less sensitive to decoherence sources and to imperfections in the control of the system, in order to relax experimental constraints for effective quantum computing. Innovative qubit manipulation and interfacing mechanisms in the context of mesoscopic condensed matter will be explored, in the sense of coupling to nanofabricated structures like quantum dots, supe rconducting devices and nanotubes. The training objectives concern on one hand deepening and broadening the applicant¿s core competence in quantum optics and atomic physics applied to quantum information processing, and on the other hand complementing it w ith new knowledge in the field of condensed-matter mesoscopic systems and with new skills in the management of international scientific collaboration at the extra-European level, in view of consolidating prospects for independent research in the context of the return host institution, possibly even after the completion of the project.
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