The innate complexity of solid state physics exposes superconducting quantum circuits to interactions with uncontrolled degrees of freedom degrading their coherence. By using a simple
stabilization sequence we show that a superconducting fluxonium qubit is coupled to a two-level system (TLS) environment of unknown origin, with a relatively long energy relaxation time exceeding 50ms. Implementing a quantum Szilard engine with an active feedback control loop allows us to decide whether the qubit heats or cools its TLS environment. The TLSs can be cooled down resulting in a four times lower qubit population, or they can be heated to manifest themselves as a negative temperature environment corresponding to a qubit population of ∼80%. We show that the TLSs and the qubit are each other’s dominant loss mechanism and that the qubit relaxation is independent of the TLS populations. Understanding and mitigating TLS environments is therefore not only crucial to improve qubit lifetimes but also to avoid non-Markovian qubit dynamics.
The rapid progress in quantum information processing leads to a rising demand for devices to control the propagation of electromagnetic wave pulses and to ultimately realize a universal
and efficient quantum memory. While in recent years significant progress has been made to realize slow light and quantum memories with atoms at optical frequencies, superconducting circuits in the microwave domain still lack such devices. Here, we demonstrate slowing down electromagnetic waves in a superconducting metamaterial composed of eight qubits coupled to a common waveguide, forming a waveguide quantum electrodynamics system. We analyze two complementary approaches, one relying on dressed states of the Autler-Townes splitting, and the other based on a tailored dispersion profile using the qubits tunability. Our time-resolved experiments show reduced group velocities of down to a factor of about 1500 smaller than in vacuum. Depending on the method used, the speed of light can be controlled with an additional microwave tone or an effective qubit detuning. Our findings demonstrate high flexibility of superconducting circuits to realize custom band structures and open the door to microwave dispersion engineering in the quantum regime.
Shadow evaporation is commonly used to micro-fabricate the key element of superconducting qubits — the Josephson junction. However, in conventional two-angle deposition circuit
topology, unwanted stray Josephson junctions are created which contribute to dielectric loss. So far, this could be avoided by shorting the stray junctions with a so-called bandage layer deposited in an additional lithography step. Here, we present an improved shadow evaporation technique allowing one to deposit submicrometer-sized Josephson junctions together with bandage layers in a single lithography step. We also show that junction aging is signficantly reduced when junction electrodes and the bandage layers are oxidized in an oxygen atmosphere directly after deposition.
The anomalous low-temperature properties of glasses arise from intrinsic excitable entities, so-called tunneling Two-Level-Systems (TLS), whose microscopic nature has been baffling
solid-state physicists for decades. TLS have become particularly important for micro-fabricated quantum devices such as superconducting qubits, where they are a major source of decoherence. Here, we present a method to characterize individual TLS in virtually arbitrary materials deposited as thin-films. The material is used as the dielectric in a capacitor that shunts the Josephson junction of a superconducting qubit. In such a hybrid quantum system the qubit serves as an interface to detect and control individual TLS. We demonstrate spectroscopic measurements of TLS resonances, evaluate their coupling to applied strain and DC-electric fields, and find evidence of strong interaction between coherent TLS in the sample material. Our approach opens avenues for quantum material spectroscopy to investigate the structure of tunneling defects and to develop low-loss dielectrics that are urgently required for the advancement of superconducting quantum computers.
Reading out the state of superconducting artificial atoms typically relies on dispersive coupling to a readout resonator. For a given system noise temperature, increasing the circulating
photon number n¯ in the resonator enables a shorter measurement time and is therefore expected to reduce readout errors caused by spontaneous atom transitions. However, increasing n¯ is generally observed to also increase these transition rates. Here we present a fluxonium artificial atom in which we measure an overall flat dependence of the transition rates between its first two states as a function of n¯, up to n¯≈200. Despite the fact that we observe the expected decrease of the dispersive shift with increasing readout power, the signal-to-noise ratio continuously improves with increasing n¯. Even without the use of a parametric amplifier, at n¯=74, we measure fidelities of 99% and 93% for feedback-assisted ground and excited state preparation, respectively.
Josephson tunnel junctions are the centerpiece of almost any superconducting electronic circuit, including qubits. Typically, the junctions for qubits are fabricated using shadow evaporation
techniques to reduce dielectric loss contributions from the superconducting film interfaces. In recent years, however, sub-micron scale overlap junctions have started to attract attention. Compared to shadow mask techniques, neither an angle dependent deposition nor free-standing bridges or overlaps are needed, which are significant limitations for wafer-scale processing. This comes at the cost of breaking the vacuum during fabrication, but simplifies integration in multi-layered circuits, implementation of vastly different junction sizes, and enables fabrication on a larger scale in an industrially-standardized process. In this work, we demonstrate the feasibility of a subtractive process for fabrication of overlap junctions. We evaluate the coherence properties of the junctions by employing them in superconducting transmon qubits. In time domain experiments, we find that both, the qubit life- and coherence time of our best device, are on average greater than 20 μs. Finally, we discuss potential improvements to our technique. This work paves the way towards a more standardized process flow with advanced materials and growth processes, and constitutes an important step for large scale fabrication of superconducting quantum circuits.
Recent discoveries in topological physics hold a promise for disorder-robust quantum systems and technologies. Topological states provide the crucial ingredient of such systems featuring
increased robustness to disorder and imperfections. Here, we use an array of superconducting qubits to engineer a one-dimensional topologically nontrivial quantum metamaterial. By performing microwave spectroscopy of the fabricated array, we experimentally observe the spectrum of elementary excitations. We find not only the single-photon topological states but also the bands of exotic bound photon pairs arising due to the inherent anharmonicity of qubits. Furthermore, we detect the signatures of the two-photon bound edge-localized state which hints towards interaction-induced localization in our system. Our work demonstrates an experimental implementation of the topological model with attractive photon-photon interaction in a quantum metamaterial.
In this work, we experimentally study a metamaterial made of eight superconducting transmon qubits with local frequency control coupled to the mode continuum of a superconducting waveguide.
By consecutively tuning the qubits to a common resonance frequency we observe the formation of super- and subradiant states as well as the emergence of a polaritonic bandgap. Making use of the qubits strong intrinsic quantum nonlinearity we study the saturation of the collective modes with increasing photon number and electromagnetically induce a transparency window in the bandgap region of the ensemble, allowing to directly control the band structure of the array. The moderately scaled circuit of this work extends experiments with one and two qubits towards a full-blown quantum metamaterial, thus paving the way for large-scale applications in superconducting waveguide quantum electrodynamics.
As quantum coherence times of superconducting circuits have increased from nanoseconds to hundreds of microseconds, they are currently one of the leading platforms for quantum information
processing. However, coherence needs to further improve by orders of magnitude to reduce the prohibitive hardware overhead of current error correction schemes. Reaching this goal hinges on reducing the density of broken Cooper pairs, so-called quasiparticles. Here, we show that environmental radioactivity is a significant source of nonequilibrium quasiparticles. Moreover, ionizing radiation introduces time-correlated quasiparticle bursts in resonators on the same chip, further complicating quantum error correction. Operating in a deep-underground lead-shielded cryostat decreases the quasiparticle burst rate by a factor fifty and reduces dissipation up to a factor four, showcasing the importance of radiation abatement in future solid-state quantum hardware.
We developed a versatile integrated control and readout instrument for experiments with superconducting quantum bits (qubits), based on a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) platform.
Using this platform, we perform measurement-based, closed-loop feedback operations with 428ns platform latency. The feedback capability is instrumental in realizing active reset initialization of the qubit into the ground state in a time much shorter than its energy relaxation time T1. We show experimental results demonstrating reset of a fluxonium qubit with 99.4% fidelity, using a readout-and-drive pulse sequence approximately 1.5μs long. Compared to passive ground state initialization through thermalization, with the time constant given by T1= 80μs, the use of the FPGA-based platform allows us to improve both the fidelity and the time of the qubit initialization by an order of magnitude.