Quantum dynamics and control of vibrational dephasing

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This review emphasizes the physical principles underlying the dephasing of nonstationary vibrational states of molecules with multiple vibrational degrees of freedom. The motion of atoms within molecules can be described to a very good approximation by a many-level system of coupled anharmonic quantized oscillators. The separation of electronic and nuclear timescales, combined with weak symmetry breaking inherent in molecular structures, guarantees that the Hamiltonian can always be cast in a form that is local in the quantum state space of the molecular vibrations. The resulting nonexponential dephasing dynamics can be controlled with external fields to stabilize nonstationary quantum states, and both quantum-classical and fully quantum control formalisms are described. Coupled molecular vibrations interacting with external fields also offer prospects for quantum computing because vibrational level spacings can be made very large compared to thermal noise, and relaxation mechanisms such as infrared fluorescence are many orders of magnitude slower than the timescales required for coherence transfer. Finally, a toy model that provides insights into the interaction of vibrational degrees of freedom with 'solvent' modes is also discussed, and exhibits nonexponential dynamics in certain regimes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R1057-R1088
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number30
StatePublished - Aug 4 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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