Quantum error correction (QEC) provides a practical path to fault-tolerant quantum computing through scaling to large qubit numbers, assuming that physical errors are sufficiently uncorrelatedin time and space. In superconducting qubit arrays, high-energy impact events produce correlated errors, violating this key assumption. Following such an event, phonons with energy above the superconducting gap propagate throughout the device substrate, which in turn generate a temporary surge in quasiparticle (QP) density throughout the array. When these QPs tunnel across the qubits‘ Josephson junctions, they induce correlated errors. Engineering different superconducting gaps across the qubit’s Josephson junctions provides a method to resist this form of QP tunneling. By fabricating all-aluminum transmon qubits with both strong and weak gap engineering on the same substrate, we observe starkly different responses during high-energy impact events. Strongly gap engineered qubits do not show any degradation in T1 during impact events, while weakly gap engineered qubits show events of correlated degradation in T1. We also show that strongly gap engineered qubits are robust to QP poisoning from increasing optical illumination intensity, whereas weakly gap engineered qubits display rapid degradation in coherence. Based on these results, gap engineering removes the threat of high-energy impacts to QEC in superconducting qubit arrays.

Designing quantum systems with the measurement speed and accuracy needed for quantum error correction using superconducting qubits requires iterative design and test informed by accuratemodels and characterization tools. We introduce a single protocol, with few prerequisite calibrations, which measures the dispersive shift, resonator linewidth, and drive power used in the dispersive readout of superconducting qubits. We find that the resonator linewidth is poorly controlled with a factor of 2 between the maximum and minimum measured values, and is likely to require focused attention in future quantum error correction experiments. We also introduce a protocol for measuring the readout system efficiency using the same power levels as are used in typical qubit readout, and without the need to measure the qubit coherence. We routinely run these protocols on chips with tens of qubits, driven by automation software with little human interaction. Using the extracted system parameters, we find that a model based on those parameters predicts the readout signal to noise ratio to within 10% over a device with 54 qubits.

A foundational assumption of quantum error correction theory is that quantum gates can be scaled to large processors without exceeding the error-threshold for fault tolerance. Two majorchallenges that could become fundamental roadblocks are manufacturing high performance quantum hardware and engineering a control system that can reach its performance limits. The control challenge of scaling quantum gates from small to large processors without degrading performance often maps to non-convex, high-constraint, and time-dependent control optimization over an exponentially expanding configuration space. Here we report on a control optimization strategy that can scalably overcome the complexity of such problems. We demonstrate it by choreographing the frequency trajectories of 68 frequency-tunable superconducting qubits to execute single- and two-qubit gates while mitigating computational errors. When combined with a comprehensive model of physical errors across our processor, the strategy suppresses physical error rates by ∼3.7× compared with the case of no optimization. Furthermore, it is projected to achieve a similar performance advantage on a distance-23 surface code logical qubit with 1057 physical qubits. Our control optimization strategy solves a generic scaling challenge in a way that can be adapted to other quantum algorithms, operations, and computing architectures.

Measurement is an essential component of quantum algorithms, and for superconducting qubits it is often the most error prone. Here, we demonstrate model-based readout optimization achievinglow measurement errors while avoiding detrimental side-effects. For simultaneous and mid-circuit measurements across 17 qubits, we observe 1.5% error per qubit with a 500ns end-to-end duration and minimal excess reset error from residual resonator photons. We also suppress measurement-induced state transitions achieving a leakage rate limited by natural heating. This technique can scale to hundreds of qubits and be used to enhance the performance of error-correcting codes and near-term applications.

Superconducting qubits typically use a dispersive readout scheme, where a resonator is coupled to a qubit such that its frequency is qubit-state dependent. Measurement is performedby driving the resonator, where the transmitted resonator field yields information about the resonator frequency and thus the qubit state. Ideally, we could use arbitrarily strong resonator drives to achieve a target signal-to-noise ratio in the shortest possible time. However, experiments have shown that when the average resonator photon number exceeds a certain threshold, the qubit is excited out of its computational subspace, which we refer to as a measurement-induced state transition. These transitions degrade readout fidelity, and constitute leakage which precludes further operation of the qubit in, for example, error correction. Here we study these transitions using a transmon qubit by experimentally measuring their dependence on qubit frequency, average photon number, and qubit state, in the regime where the resonator frequency is lower than the qubit frequency. We observe signatures of resonant transitions between levels in the coupled qubit-resonator system that exhibit noisy behavior when measured repeatedly in time. We provide a semi-classical model of these transitions based on the rotating wave approximation and use it to predict the onset of state transitions in our experiments. Our results suggest the transmon is excited to levels near the top of its cosine potential following a state transition, where the charge dispersion of higher transmon levels explains the observed noisy behavior of state transitions. Moreover, occupation in these higher energy levels poses a major challenge for fast qubit reset.

We demonstrate a high dynamic range Josephson parametric amplifier (JPA) in which the active nonlinear element is implemented using an array of rf-SQUIDs. The device is matched to the50 Ω environment with a Klopfenstein-taper impedance transformer and achieves a bandwidth of 250-300 MHz, with input saturation powers up to -95 dBm at 20 dB gain. A 54-qubit Sycamore processor was used to benchmark these devices, providing a calibration for readout power, an estimate of amplifier added noise, and a platform for comparison against standard impedance matched parametric amplifiers with a single dc-SQUID. We find that the high power rf-SQUID array design has no adverse effect on system noise, readout fidelity, or qubit dephasing, and we estimate an upper bound on amplifier added noise at 1.6 times the quantum limit. Lastly, amplifiers with this design show no degradation in readout fidelity due to gain compression, which can occur in multi-tone multiplexed readout with traditional JPAs.

While all quantum algorithms can be expressed in terms of single-qubit and two-qubit gates, more expressive gate sets can help reduce the algorithmic depth. This is important in thepresence of gate errors, especially those due to decoherence. Using superconducting qubits, we have implemented a three-qubit gate by simultaneously applying two-qubit operations, thereby realizing a three-body interaction. This method straightforwardly extends to other quantum hardware architectures, requires only a „firmware“ upgrade to implement, and is faster than its constituent two-qubit gates. The three-qubit gate represents an entire family of operations, creating flexibility in quantum-circuit compilation. We demonstrate a gate fidelity of 97.90%, which is near the coherence limit of our device. We then generate two classes of entangled states, the GHZ and W states, by applying the new gate only once; in comparison, decompositions into the standard gate set would have a two-qubit gate depth of two and three, respectively. Finally, we combine characterization methods and analyze the experimental and statistical errors on the fidelity of the gates and of the target states.

We describe a digital microwave platform called Presto, designed for measurement and control of multiple quantum bits (qubits) and based on the third-generation radio-frequency systemon a chip. Presto uses direct digital synthesis to create signals up to 9 GHz on 16 synchronous output ports, while synchronously analyzing response on 16 input ports. Presto has 16 DC-bias outputs, 4 inputs and 4 outputs for digital triggers or markers, and two continuous-wave outputs for synthesizing frequencies up to 15 GHz. Scaling to a large number of qubits is enabled through deterministic synchronization of multiple Presto units. A Python application programming interface configures a firmware for synthesis and analysis of pulses, coordinated by an event sequencer. The analysis integrates template matching (matched filtering) and low-latency (184 – 254 ns) feedback to enable a wide range of multi-qubit experiments. We demonstrate Presto’s capabilities with experiments on a sample consisting of two superconducting qubits connected via a flux-tunable coupler. We show single-shot readout and active reset of a single qubit; randomized benchmarking of single-qubit gates showing 99.972% fidelity, limited by the coherence time of the qubit; and calibration of a two-qubit iSWAP gate.

We observe the continuous emission of photons into a waveguide from a superconducting qubit without the application of an external drive. To explain this observation, we build a two-bathmodel where the qubit couples simultaneously to a cold bath (the waveguide) and a hot bath (a secondary environment). Our results show that the thermal-photon occupation of the hot bath is up to 0.14 photons, 35 times larger than the cold waveguide, leading to nonequilibrium heat transport with a power of up to 132 zW, as estimated from the qubit emission spectrum. By adding more isolation between the sample output and the first cold amplifier in the output line, the heat transport is strongly suppressed. Our interpretation is that the hot bath may arise from active two-level systems being excited by noise from the output line. We also apply a coherent drive, and use the waveguide to measure thermodynamic work and heat, suggesting waveguide spectroscopy is a useful means to study quantum heat engines and refrigerators. Finally, based on the theoretical model, we propose how a similar setup can be used as a noise spectrometer which provides a new solution for calibrating the background noise of hybrid quantum systems.

We demonstrate an on-demand source of microwave single photons with 71–99% intrinsic quantum efficiency. The source is narrowband (300unite{kHz}) and tuneable over a 600 MHzrange around 5.2 GHz. Such a device is an important element in numerous quantum technologies and applications. The device consists of a superconducting transmon qubit coupled to the open end of a transmission line. A π-pulse excites the qubit, which subsequently rapidly emits a single photon into the transmission line. A cancellation pulse then suppresses the reflected π-pulse by 33.5 dB, resulting in 0.005 photons leaking into the photon emission channel. We verify strong antibunching of the emitted photon field and determine its Wigner function. Non-radiative decay and 1/f flux noise both affect the quantum efficiency. We also study the device stability over time and identify uncorrelated discrete jumps of the pure dephasing rate at different qubit frequencies on a time scale of hours, which we attribute to independent two-level system defects in the device dielectrics, dispersively coupled to the qubit.