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.

We experimentally investigate a superconducting qubit coupled to the end of an open transmission line, in a regime where the qubit decay rates to the transmission line and to its ownenvironment are comparable. We perform measurements of coherent and incoherent scattering, on- and off-resonant fluorescence, and time-resolved dynamics to determine the decay and decoherence rates of the qubit. In particular, these measurements let us discriminate between non-radiative decay and pure dephasing. We combine and contrast results across all methods and find consistent values for the extracted rates. The results show that the pure dephasing rate is one order of magnitude smaller than the non-radiative decay rate for our qubit. Our results indicate a pathway to benchmark decoherence rates of superconducting qubits in a resonator-free setting.

In quantum optics, light-matter interaction has conventionally been studied using small atoms interacting with electromagnetic fields with wavelength several orders of magnitude largerthan the atomic dimensions. In contrast, here we experimentally demonstrate the vastly different giant atom regime, where an artificial atom interacts with acoustic fields with wavelength several orders of magnitude smaller than the atomic dimensions. This is achieved by coupling a superconducting qubit to surface acoustic waves at two points with separation on the order of 100 wavelengths. This approach is comparable to controlling the radiation of an atom by attaching it to an antenna. The slow velocity of sound leads to a significant internal time-delay for the field to propagate across the giant atom, giving rise to non-Markovian dynamics. We demonstrate the non-Markovian character of the giant atom in the frequency spectrum as well as nonexponential relaxation in the time domain.