In quantum information processing, two primary research directions have emerged: one based on discrete variables (DV) and the other on the structure of quantum states in a continuous-variable(CV) space. It is increasingly recognized that integrating these two approaches could unlock new potentials, overcoming the inherent limitations of each. Here, we show that such a DV-CV hybrid approach, applied to superconducting Kerr parametric oscillators (KPOs), enables us to entangle a pair of Schrödinger’s cat states by two straightforward methods. The first method involves the entanglement-preserving and deterministic conversion between Bell states in the Fock-state basis (DV encoding) and those in the cat-state basis (CV encoding). This method would allow us to construct quantum networks in the cat-state basis using conventional schemes originally developed for the Fock-state basis. In the second method, the iSWAP‾‾‾‾‾‾‾√ gate operation is implemented between two cat states following the procedure used for Fock-state encoding. This DV-like gate operation on CV encoding not only completes the demonstration of a universal quantum gate set in a KPO system but also enables faster and simpler gate operations compared to previous SWAP gate implementations on bosonic modes. Our work offers a simple yet powerful application of DV-CV hybridization while also highlighting the scalability of this planar KPO system.

We perform theoretical calculations to investigate the naturally occurring high-frequency cutoff in a circuit comprising a flux qubit coupled inductively to a transmission line resonator(TLR). Our results agree with those of past studies that considered somewhat similar circuit designs. In particular, a decoupling occurs between the qubit and the high-frequency modes. As a result, the coupling strength between the qubit and resonator modes increases with mode frequency ω as ω‾‾√ at low frequencies and decreases as 1/ω‾‾√ at high frequencies. We derive expressions for the multimode-resonator-induced Lamb shift in the qubit’s characteristic frequency. Because of the natural decoupling between the qubit and high-frequency modes, the Lamb-shift-renormalized qubit frequency remains finite.

We report experimental and theoretical results on the extremely large Lamb shift in a multimode circuit quantum electrodynamics (QED) system in the deep-strong coupling (DSC) regime,where the qubit-resonator coupling strength is comparable to or larger than the qubit and resonator frequencies. The system comprises a superconducting flux qubit (FQ) and a quarter-wavelength coplanar waveguide resonator (λ/4 CPWR) that are coupled inductively through a shared edge that contains a Josephson junction to achieve the DSC regime. Spectroscopy is performed around the frequency of the fundamental mode of the CPWR, and the spectrum is fitted by the single-mode quantum Rabi Hamiltonian to obtain the system parameters. Since the qubit is also coupled to a large number of higher modes in the resonator, the single-mode fitting does not provide the bare qubit energy but a value that incorporates the renormalization from all the other modes. We derive theoretical formulas for the Lamb shift in the multimode resonator system. As shown in previous studies, there is a cut-off frequency ωcutoff for the coupling between the FQ and the modes in the CPWR, where the coupling grows as ωn‾‾‾√ for ωn/ωcutoff≪1 and decreases as 1/ωn‾‾‾√ for ωn/ωcutoff≫1. Here ωn is the frequency of the nth mode. Using our observed spectrum and theoretical formulas, we estimate that the Lamb shift from the fundamental mode is 82.3\% and the total Lamb shift from all the modes is 96.5\%. This result illustrates that the coupling to the large number of modes in a CPWR yields an extremely large Lamb shift but does not suppress the qubit energy to zero, which would happen in the absence of a high-frequency cut-off.

We consider the implementation of two-qubit gates when the physical systems used to realize the qubits are weakly anharmonic and therefore possess additional quantum states in the accessibleenergy range. We analyze the effect of the additional quantum states on the maximum achievable speed for quantum gates in the qubit state space. By calculating the minimum gate time using optimal control theory, we find that higher energy levels can help make two-qubit gates significantly faster than the reference value based on simple qubits. This speedup is a result of the higher coupling strength between higher energy levels. We then analyze the situation where the pulse optimization algorithm avoids pulses that excite the higher levels. We find that in this case the presence of the additional states can lead to a significant reduction in the maximum achievable gate speed. We also compare the optimal control gate times with those obtained using the cross-resonance/selective-darkening gate protocol. We find that the latter, with some parameter optimization, can be used to achieve a relatively fast implementation of the CNOT gate. These results can help the search for optimized gate implementations in realistic quantum computing architectures, such as those based on superconducting qubits. They also provide guidelines for desirable conditions on anharmonicity that would allow optimal utilization of the higher levels to achieve fast quantum gates.

We report an experimentally observed anomalous doubly split spectrum and its split-width fluctuation in an ultrastrongly coupled superconducting qubit and resonator. From an analysisof Rabimodel and circuit model Hamiltonians, we found that the doubly split spectrum and split-width fluctuation are caused by discrete charge hops due to quasiparticle tunnelings and a continuous background charge fluctuation in islands of a flux qubit. During 70 hours in the spectrum measurement, split width fluctuates but the middle frequency of the split is constant. This result indicates that quasiparticles in our device seem mainly tunnel one particular junction. The background offsetcharge obtained from split width has the 1/f noise characteristic.

We have developed superconducting qubits based on NbN/AlN/NbN epitaxial Josephson junctions on Si substrates which promise to overcome the drawbacks of qubits based on Al/AlOx/Al junctions.The all-nitride qubits have great advantages such as chemical stability against oxidation (resulting in fewer two-level fluctuators), feasibility for epitaxial tunnel barriers (further reducing energy relaxation and dephasing), and a larger superconducting gap of ∼5.2 meV for NbN compared to ∼0.3 meV for Al (suppressing the excitation of quasiparticles). Replacing conventional MgO by a Si substrate with a TiN buffer layer for epitaxial growth of nitride junctions, we demonstrate a qubit energy relaxation time T1=16.3 μs and a spin-echo dephasing time T2=21.5 μs. These significant improvements in quantum coherence are explained by the reduced dielectric loss compared to previously reported NbN-based qubits with MgO substrates (T1≈T2≈0.5 μs). These results are an important step towards constructing a new platform for superconducting quantum hardware.

We derive the Hamiltonian of a superconducting circuit that comprises a single-Josephson-junction flux qubit and an LC oscillator. If we keep the qubit’s lowest two energy levels,the derived circuit Hamiltonian takes the form of the quantum Rabi Hamiltonian, which describes a two-level system coupled to a harmonic oscillator, regardless of the coupling strength. To investigate contributions from the qubit’s higher energy levels, we numerically calculate the transition frequencies of the circuit Hamiltonian. We find that the qubit’s higher energy levels mainly cause an overall shift of the entire spectrum, but the energy level structure up to the seventh excited states can still be fitted well by the quantum Rabi Hamiltonian even in the case where the coupling strength is larger than the frequencies of the qubit and the oscillator, i.e., when the qubit-oscillator circuit is in the deep-strong-coupling regime. We also confirm that some of the paradoxical properties of the quantum Rabi Hamiltonian in the deep-strong-coupling regime, e.g. the non-negligible number of photons and the nonzero expectation value of the flux in the oscillator in the ground state, arise from the circuit Hamiltonian as well.

We investigate theoretically how the ground state of a qubit-resonator system in the deep-strong coupling (DSC) regime is affected by the coupling to an environment. We employ a superpositionof coherent states displaced in the qubit-state-dependent directions as a variational ansatz for the ground state of the qubit-resonator-environment system. We show that the reduced density matrix of the qubit-resonator system strongly depends on types of the resonator-waveguide and resonator-qubit coupling, i.e., capacitive or inductive, because of the broken rotational symmetry of the eigenstates of the DSC system in the resonator phase space. When the resonator couples to the qubit and the environment in different ways (for instance, one is inductive and the other is capacitive), the system is almost unaffected by the resonator-waveguide coupling. In contrast, when the types of two couplings are the same (for instance, both are inductive), by increasing the resonator-waveguide coupling strength, the average number of virtual photons increases and the quantum superposition realized in the qubit-resonator entangled ground state is partially degraded. Since the superposition becomes more fragile when the qubit-resonator coupling strength gets large, there exists an optimal strength of the qubit-resonator coupling to maximize the nonclassicality of the qubit-resonator system.

We report on experimentally measured light shifts of superconducting flux qubits deep-strongly-coupled to an LC oscillator, where the coupling constant is comparable to the qubit’stransition frequency and the oscillator’s resonance frequency. By using two-tone spectroscopy, the energies of the six-lowest levels of the coupled circuits are determined. We find a huge Lamb shift that exceeds 90% of the bare qubit frequencies and inversion of the qubits‘ ground and excited states when there is a finite number of photons in the oscillator. Our experimental results agree with theoretical predictions based on the quantum Rabi model.

Dynamical error suppression techniques are commonly used to improve coherence in quantum systems. They reduce dephasing errors by applying control pulses designed to reverse erroneouscoherent evolution driven by environmental noise. However, such methods cannot correct for irreversible processes such as energy relaxation. In this work, we investigate a complementary, stochastic approach to reducing errors: instead of deterministically reversing the unwanted qubit evolution, we use control pulses to shape the noise environment dynamically. In the context of superconducting qubits, we implement a pumping sequence to reduce the number of unpaired electrons (quasiparticles) in close proximity to the device. We report a 70% reduction in the quasiparticle density, resulting in a threefold enhancement in qubit relaxation times, and a comparable reduction in coherence variability.