Quantum microwave photonics aims at generating, routing, and manipulating propagating quantum microwave fields in the spirit of optical photonics. To this end, the strong nonlinearitiesof superconducting quantum circuits can be used to either improve or move beyond the implementation of concepts from the optical domain. In this context, the design of a well-controlled broadband environment for the superconducting quantum circuits is a central task. In this work, we place a superconducting transmon qubit in one arm of an on-chip Mach-Zehnder interferometer composed of two superconducting microwave beam splitters. By measuring its relaxation and dephasing rates we use the qubit as a sensitive spectrometer at the quantum level to probe the broadband electromagnetic environment. At high frequencies, this environment can be well described by an ensemble of harmonic oscillators coupled to the transmon qubit. At low frequencies, we find experimental evidence for colored quasi-static Gaussian noise with a high spectral weight, as it is typical for ensembles of two-level fluctuators. Our work paves the way towards possible applications of propagating microwave photons, such as emulating quantum impurity models or a novel architecture for quantum information processing.

In quantum illumination entangled light is employed to enhance the detection accuracy of an object when compared with the best classical protocol. On the other hand, cloaking is a stealthtechnology based on covering a target with a material deflecting the light around the object to avoid its detection. Here, we propose a quantum illumination protocol especially adapted to quantum microwave technology which, by seizing weaknesses in current cloaking techniques, allows for a 3 dB improvement in the detection of a cloaked target. Finally, we study the minimal efficiency required by the photocounter for which the quantum illumination protocol still shows a gain with respect to the classical protocol.

Thermal microwave states are omnipresent noise sources in superconducting quantum circuits covering all relevant frequency regimes. We use them as a probe to identify three second-orderdecoherence mechanisms of a superconducting transmon. First, we quantify the efficiency of a resonator filter in the dispersive Jaynes-Cummings regime and find evidence for parasitic loss channels. Second, we probe second-order noise in the low-frequency regime and demonstrate the expected T3 temperature dependence of the qubit dephasing rate. Finally, we show that qubit parameter fluctuations due to two-level states are enhanced under the influence of thermal microwave states. In particular, we experimentally confirm the T2-dependence of the fluctuation spectrum expected for noninteracting two-level states.

In experiments with superconducting quantum circuits, characterizing the photon statistics of propagating microwave fields is a fundamental task. We quantify the n2+n photon numbervariance of thermal microwave photons emitted from a black-body radiator for mean photon numbers 0.05≲n≲1.5. We probe the fields using either correlation measurements or a transmon qubit coupled to a microwave resonator. Our experiments provide a precise quantitative characterization of weak microwave states and information on the noise emitted by a Josephson parametric amplifier.

Propagating quantum microwaves have been proposed and successfully implemented to generate entanglement, thereby establishing a promising platform for the realisation of a quantum communicationchannel. However, the implementation of quantum teleportation with photons in the microwave regime is still absent. At the same time, recent developments in the field show that this key protocol could be feasible with current technology, which would pave the way to boost the field of microwave quantum communication. Here, we discuss the feasibility of a possible implementation of microwave quantum teleportation in a realistic scenario with losses. Furthermore, we propose how to implement quantum repeaters in the microwave regime without using photodetection, a key prerequisite to achieve long distance entanglement distribution.

We report on ultrastrong coupling between a superconducting flux qubit and a resonant mode of a system comprised of two superconducting coplanar stripline resonators coupled galvanicallyto the qubit. With a coupling strength as high as 17% of the mode frequency, exceeding that of previous circuit quantum electrodynamics experiments, we observe a pronounced Bloch-Siegert shift. The spectroscopic response of our multimode system reveals a clear breakdown of the Jaynes-Cummings model. In contrast to earlier experiments, the high coupling strength is achieved without making use of an additional inductance provided by a Josephson junction.

Nonreciprocal microwave transmission through a long Josephson junction in the flux-flow regime is studied analytically and numerically within the framework of the perturbed sine-Gordonmodel. We demonstrate that the maximum attenuation of the transmitted power occurs when the direction of the flux flow is opposite to the direction of the microwave propagation. This attenuation is nonreciprocal with respect to the flux-flow direction and can be enhanced by increasing the system length and proper impedance matching of the junction ends to external transmission line.

We describe fabrication and testing of composite flux qubits combining Nb- and Al-based superconducting circuit technology. This hybrid approach to making qubits allows for employingpi-phase shifters fabricated using well-established Nb-based technology of superconductor-ferromagnet-superconductor Josephson junctions. The important feature here is to obtain high interface transparency between Nb and Al layers without degrading sub-micron shadow mask. We achieve this by in-situ Ar etching using e-beam gun. Shadow-evaporated Al/AlOx/Al Josephson junctions with Nb bias pads show the expected current-voltage characteristics with reproducible critical currents. Using this technique, we fabricated composite Nb/Al flux qubits with Nb/CuNi/Nb pi-shifters and measured their magnetic field response. The observed offset between the field responses of the qubits with and without pi-junction is attributed to the pi phase shift. The reported approach can be used for implementing a variety of hybrid Nb/Al superconducting quantum circuits.