Deterministic photon-photon gates enable the controlled generation of entanglement between mobile carriers of quantum information. Such gates have thus far been exclusively realizedin the optical domain and by relying on post-selection. Here, we present a non-post-selected, deterministic, photon-photon gate in the microwave frequency range realized using superconducting circuits. We emit photonic qubits from a source chip and route those qubits to a gate chip with which we realize a universal gate set by combining controlled absorption and re-emission with single-qubit gates and qubit-photon controlled-phase gates. We measure quantum process fidelities of 75% for single- and of 57% for two-qubit gates, limited mainly by radiation loss and decoherence. This universal gate set has a wide range of potential applications in superconducting quantum networks.

Superconducting circuits are a strong contender for realizing quantum computing systems, and are also successfully used to study quantum optics and hybrid quantum systems. However,their cryogenic operation temperatures and the current lack of coherence-preserving microwave-to-optical conversion solutions have hindered the realization of superconducting quantum networks either spanning different cryogenics systems or larger distances. Here, we report the successful operation of a cryogenic waveguide coherently linking transmon qubits located in two dilution refrigerators separated by a physical distance of five meters. We transfer qubit states and generate entanglement on-demand with average transfer and target state fidelities of 85.8 % and 79.5 %, respectively, between the two nodes of this elementary network. Cryogenic microwave links do provide an opportunity to scale up systems for quantum computing and create local area quantum communication networks over length scales of at least tens of meters.

High fidelity two-qubit gates exhibiting low crosstalk are essential building blocks for gate-based quantum information processing. In superconducting circuits two-qubit gates are typicallybased either on RF-controlled interactions or on the in-situ tunability of qubit frequencies. Here, we present an alternative approach using a tunable cross-Kerr-type ZZ-interaction between two qubits, which we realize by a flux-tunable coupler element. We control the ZZ-coupling rate over three orders of magnitude to perform a rapid (38 ns), high-contrast, low leakage (0.14 %) conditional-phase CZ gate with a fidelity of 97.9 % without relying on the resonant interaction with a non-computational state. Furthermore, by exploiting the direct nature of the ZZ-coupling, we easily access the entire conditional-phase gate family by adjusting only a single control parameter.

Sources of entangled electromagnetic radiation are a cornerstone in quantum information processing and offer unique opportunities for the study of quantum many-body physics in a controlledexperimental setting. While multi-mode entangled states of radiation have been generated in various platforms, all previous experiments are either probabilistic or restricted to generate specific types of states with a moderate entanglement length. Here, we demonstrate the fully deterministic generation of purely photonic entangled states such as the cluster, GHZ, and W state by sequentially emitting microwave photons from a controlled auxiliary system into a waveguide. We tomographically reconstruct the entire quantum many-body state for up to N=4 photonic modes and infer the quantum state for even larger N from process tomography. We estimate that localizable entanglement persists over a distance of approximately ten photonic qubits, outperforming any previous deterministic scheme.

Variational quantum algorithms are believed to be promising for solving computationally hard problems and are often comprised of repeated layers of quantum gates. An example thereofis the quantum approximate optimization algorithm (QAOA), an approach to solve combinatorial optimization problems on noisy intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) systems. Gaining computational power from QAOA critically relies on the mitigation of errors during the execution of the algorithm, which for coherence-limited operations is achievable by reducing the gate count. Here, we demonstrate an improvement of up to a factor of 3 in algorithmic performance as measured by the success probability, by implementing a continuous hardware-efficient gate set using superconducting quantum circuits. This gate set allows us to perform the phase separation step in QAOA with a single physical gate for each pair of qubits instead of decomposing it into two CZ-gates and single-qubit gates. With this reduced number of physical gates, which scales with the number of layers employed in the algorithm, we experimentally investigate the circuit-depth-dependent performance of QAOA applied to exact-cover problem instances mapped onto three and seven qubits, using up to a total of 399 operations and up to 9 layers. Our results demonstrate that the use of continuous gate sets may be a key component in extending the impact of near-term quantum computers.

The ability to control and measure the temperature of propagating microwave modes down to very low temperatures is indispensable for quantum information processing, and may open opportunitiesfor studies of heat transport at the nanoscale, also in the quantum regime. Here we propose and experimentally demonstrate primary thermometry of propagating microwaves using a transmon-type superconducting circuit. Our device operates continuously, with a sensitivity down to 4×10−4 photons/Hz−−−√ and a bandwidth of 40 MHz. We measure the thermal occupation of the modes of a highly attenuated coaxial cable in a range of 0.001 to 0.4 thermal photons, corresponding to a temperature range from 35 mK to 210 mK at a frequency around 5 GHz. To increase the radiation temperature in a controlled fashion, we either inject calibrated, wideband digital noise, or heat the device and its environment. This thermometry scheme can find applications in benchmarking and characterization of cryogenic microwave setups, temperature measurements in hybrid quantum systems, and quantum thermodynamics.

The parity of the number of elementary excitations present in a quantum system provides important insights into its physical properties. Parity measurements are used, for example, totomographically reconstruct quantum states or to determine if a decay of an excitation has occurred, information which can be used for quantum error correction in computation or communication protocols. Here we demonstrate a versatile parity detector for propagating microwaves, which distinguishes between radiation fields containing an even or odd number n of photons, both in a single-shot measurement and without perturbing the parity of the detected field. We showcase applications of the detector for direct Wigner tomography of propagating microwaves and heralded generation of Schrödinger cat states. This parity detection scheme is applicable over a broad frequency range and may prove useful, for example, for heralded or fault-tolerant quantum communication protocols.

The realization of quantum error correction is an essential ingredient for reaching the full potential of fault-tolerant universal quantum computation. Using a range of different schemes,logical qubits can be redundantly encoded in a set of physical qubits. One such scalable approach is based on the surface code. Here we experimentally implement its smallest viable instance, capable of repeatedly detecting any single error using seven superconducting qubits, four data qubits and three ancilla qubits. Using high-fidelity ancilla-based stabilizer measurements we initialize the cardinal states of the encoded logical qubit with an average logical fidelity of 96.1%. We then repeatedly check for errors using the stabilizer readout and observe that the logical quantum state is preserved with a lifetime and coherence time longer than those of any of the constituent qubits when no errors are detected. Our demonstration of error detection with its resulting enhancement of the conditioned logical qubit coherence times in a 7-qubit surface code is an important step indicating a promising route towards the realization of quantum error correction in the surface code.

Fault tolerant quantum computing relies on the ability to detect and correct errors, which in quantum error correction codes is typically achieved by projectively measuring multi-qubitparity operators and by conditioning operations on the observed error syndromes. Here, we experimentally demonstrate the use of an ancillary qubit to repeatedly measure the ZZ and XX parity operators of two data qubits and to thereby project their joint state into the respective parity subspaces. By applying feedback operations conditioned on the outcomes of individual parity measurements, we demonstrate the real-time stabilization of a Bell state with a fidelity of F≈74% in up to 12 cycles of the feedback loop. We also perform the protocol using Pauli frame updating and, in contrast to the case of real-time stabilization, observe a steady decrease in fidelity from cycle to cycle. The ability to stabilize parity over multiple feedback rounds with no reduction in fidelity provides strong evidence for the feasibility of executing stabilizer codes on timescales much longer than the intrinsic coherence times of the constituent qubits.

Heralding techniques are useful in quantum communication to circumvent losses without resorting to error correction schemes or quantum repeaters. Such techniques are realized, for example,by monitoring for photon loss at the receiving end of the quantum link while not disturbing the transmitted quantum state. We describe and experimentally benchmark a scheme that incorporates error detection in a quantum channel connecting two transmon qubits using traveling microwave photons. This is achieved by encoding the quantum information as a time-bin superposition of a single photon, which simultaneously realizes high communication rates and high fidelities. The presented scheme is straightforward to implement in circuit QED and is fully microwave-controlled, making it an interesting candidate for future modular quantum computing architectures.