Optimal control with accelerated convergence: Combining the Krotov and quasi-Newton methods

Reuven Eitan, Michael Mundt, David J. Tannor

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30 Scopus citations


One of the most popular methods for solving numerical optimal control problems is the Krotov method, adapted for quantum control by Tannor and coworkers. The Krotov method has the following three appealing properties: (1) monotonic increase of the objective with iteration number, (2) no requirement for a line search, leading to a significant savings over gradient (first-order) methods, and (3) macrosteps at each iteration, resulting in significantly faster growth of the objective at early iterations than in gradient methods where small steps are required. The principal drawback of the Krotov method is slow convergence at later iterations, which is particularly problematic when high fidelity is desired. We show here that, near convergence, the Krotov method degenerates to a first-order gradient method. We then present a variation on the Krotov method that has all the advantages of the original Krotov method but with significantly enhanced convergence (second-order or quasi-Newton) as the optimal solution is approached. We illustrate the method by controlling the three-dimensional dynamics of the valence electron in the Na atom.

Original languageEnglish
Article number053426
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 24 May 2011
Externally publishedYes


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