Physics & Astronomy ETDs


Bradley Chase

Publication Date



This thesis explores the topics of parameter estimation and model reduction in the context of quantum filtering. The last is a mathematically rigorous formulation of continuous quantum measurement, in which a stream of auxiliary quantum systems is used to infer the state of a target quantum system. Fundamental quantum uncertainties appear as noise which corrupts the probe observations and therefore must be filtered in order to extract information about the target system. This is analogous to the classical filtering problem in which techniques of inference are used to process noisy observations of a system in order to estimate its state. Given the clear similarities between the two filtering problems, I devote the beginning of this thesis to a review of classical and quantum probability theory, stochastic calculus and filtering. This allows for a mathematically rigorous and technically adroit presentation of the quantum filtering problem and solution. Given this foundation, I next consider the related problem of quantum parameter estimation, in which one seeks to infer the strength of a parameter that drives the evolution of a probe quantum system. By embedding this problem in the state estimation problem solved by the quantum filter, I present the optimal Bayesian estimator for a parameter when given continuous measurements of the probe system to which it couples. For cases when the probe takes on a finite number of values, I review a set of sufficient conditions for asymptotic convergence of the estimator. For a continuous-valued parameter, I present a computational method called quantum particle filtering for practical estimation of the parameter. Using these methods, I then study the particular problem of atomic magnetometry and review an experimental method for potentially reducing the uncertainty in the estimate of the magnetic field beyond the standard quantum limit. The technique involves double-passing a probe laser field through the atomic system, giving rise to effective non-linearities which enhance the effect of Larmor precession allowing for improved magnetic field estimation. I then turn to the topic of model reduction, which is the search for a reduced computational model of a dynamical system. This is a particularly important task for quantum mechanical systems, whose state grows exponentially in the number of subsystems. In the quantum filtering setting, I study the use of model reduction in developing a feedback controller for continuous-time quantum error correction. By studying the propagation of errors in a noisy quantum memory, I present a computation model which scales polynomially, rather than exponentially, in the number of physical qubits of the system. Although inexact, a feedback controller using this model performs almost indistinguishably from one using the full model. I finally review an exact but polynomial model of collective qubit systems undergoing arbitrary symmetric dynamics which allows for the efficient simulation of spontaneous-emission and related open quantum system phenomenon.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Physics & Astronomy

First Committee Member (Chair)

Landahl, Andrew

Second Committee Member

Deutsch, Ivan

Third Committee Member

Caves, Carl




Quantum statistics, Parameter estimation, Stochastic analysis, Magnetic fields--Measurement, Feedback control systems--Mathematical models.

Document Type