Mitigation of interfacial dielectric loss in aluminum-on-silicon superconducting qubits

  1. Janka Biznárová,
  2. Amr Osman,
  3. Emil Rehnman,
  4. Lert Chayanun,
  5. Christian Križan,
  6. Per Malmberg,
  7. Marcus Rommel,
  8. Christopher Warren,
  9. Per Delsing,
  10. August Yurgens,
  11. Jonas Bylander,
  12. and Anita Fadavi Roudsari
We demonstrate aluminum-on-silicon planar transmon qubits with time-averaged T1 energy relaxation times of up to 270μs, corresponding to Q = 5 million, and a highest observed value of 501μs. We use materials analysis techniques and numerical simulations to investigate the dominant sources of energy loss, and devise and demonstrate a strategy towards mitigating them. The mitigation of loss is achieved by reducing the presence of oxide, a known host of defects, near the substrate-metal interface, by growing aluminum films thicker than 300 nm. A loss analysis of coplanar-waveguide resonators shows that the improvement is owing to a reduction of dielectric loss due to two-level system defects. We perform time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry and observe a reduced presence of oxygen at the substrate-metal interface for the thicker films. The correlation between the enhanced performance and the film thickness is due to the tendency of aluminum to grow in columnar structures of parallel grain boundaries, where the size of the grain depends on the film thickness: transmission electron microscopy imaging shows that the thicker film has larger grains and consequently fewer grain boundaries containing oxide near this interface. These conclusions are supported by numerical simulations of the different loss contributions in the device.

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