- March 2009
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- A new notion of controllability for quantum systems that takes advantage of the linear superposition of quantum states is introduced. We call such a notion von Neumann controllability, and it is shown that it is strictly weaker than the usual notion of pure state and operator controllability. We provide a simple and effective characterization of it by using tools from the theory of unitary representations of Lie groups. In this sense, we are able to approach the problem of control of quantum states from a new perspective, that of the theory of unitary representations of Lie groups. A few examples of physical interest and the particular instances of compact and nilpotent dynamical Lie groups are discussed.