Understanding the far-from-equilibrium dynamics of quantum systems is an open problem at the frontiers of physics. Yet, tailoring such dynamics is a necessity for the advancement of quantum technologies. In this context, control techniques known as shortcuts to adiabaticity (STA) have emerged as a disruptive paradigm as they reproduce the quantum adiabatic dynamics of the system and suppress excitations without the requirement of slow driving.
Suppressing excitations is particularly challenging in critical systems driven through a phase transition, where the formation of topological defects is predicted by the Kibble-Zurek mechanism. We shall pay particular attention to this scenario and discuss its implications for adiabatic quantum computation.