Single microwave-photon detector using an artificial Λ-type three-level system

  1. Kunihiro Inomata,
  2. Zhirong Lin,
  3. Kazuki Koshino,
  4. William D. Oliver,
  5. Jaw-Shen Tsai,
  6. Tsuyoshi Yamamoto,
  7. and Yasunobu Nakamura
Single photon detection is a requisite technique in quantum-optics experiments in both the optical and the microwave domains. However, the energy of microwave quanta are four to five orders of magnitude less than their optical counterpart, making the efficient detection of single microwave photons extremely challenging. Here, we demonstrate the detection of a single microwave photon propagating through a waveguide. The detector is implemented with an „impedance-matched“ artificial Λ system comprising the dressed states of a driven superconducting qubit coupled to a microwave resonator. We attain a single-photon detection efficiency of 0.66±0.06 with a reset time of ∼400~ns. This detector can be exploited for various applications in quantum sensing, quantum communication and quantum information processing.

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