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Adaptive quantum control is applied to the resonant two-photon absorption of Rb atoms, which includes an intermediate state between the initial and final states. The phase distribution of incident laser pulses in the frequency domain is decided adaptively free from a priori knowledge on the phase distribution with the help of a simulated annealing algorithm to achieve the maximum luminescence intensity from the state associated with the excited state. The optimized phase pattern acquired in our system matches a theoretical prediction based on the perturbative treatment of the semiclassical model on the absorption of light. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.