As classical computers struggle to keep up with Moore’s law, quantum computing may represent a big step in technology and yield significant improvement over classical computingfor many important tasks. Building a quantum computer, however, is a daunting challenge since it requires good control but also good isolation from the environment to minimize decoherence. It is therefore important to realize quantum gates efficiently, using as few operations as possible, to reduce the amount of required control and operation time and thus improve the quantum state coherence. Here we propose a superconducting circuit for implementing a tunable spin chain consisting of a qutrit (three-level system analogous to spin-1) coupled to two qubits (spin-1/2). Our system can efficiently accomplish various quantum information tasks, including generation of entanglement of the two qubits and conditional three-qubit quantum gates, such as the Toffoli and Fredkin gates, which are universal for reversible classical computations. Furthermore, our system realizes a conditional geometric gate which may be used for holonomic (non-adiabatic) quantum computing. The efficiency, robustness and universality of our circuit makes it a promising candidate to serve as a building block for larger spin networks capable of performing involved quantum computational tasks.

Transistors play a vital role in classical computers, and their quantum mechanical counterparts could potentially be as important in quantum computers. Where a classical transistoris operated as a switch that either blocks or allows an electric current, the quantum transistor should operate on quantum information. In terms of a spin model the in-going quantum information is an arbitrary qubit state (spin-1/2 state). In this paper, we derive a model of four qubits with Heisenberg interactions that works as a quantum spin transistor, i.e. a system with perfect state transfer or perfect blockade depending on the state of two gate qubits. We propose a realistic implementation of the model using state-of-the-art superconducting circuits. Finally, we demonstrate that our proposal operates with high-fidelity under realistic decoherence, and without fine-tuning of any of the parameters.

We have constructed a microwave detector based on the voltage switching of an underdamped Josephson junction, that is positioned at a current antinode of a {lambda}/4 coplanar waveguideresonator. By measuring the switching current and the transmission through a waveguide capacitively coupled to the resonator at different drive frequencies and temperatures we are able to fully characterize the system and assess its detection efficiency and sensitivity. Testing the detector by applying a classical microwave field with the strength of a single photon yielded a sensitivity parameter of 0.5 in qualitative agreement with theoretical calculations.