To control and measure the state of a quantum system it must necessarily be coupled to external degrees of freedom. This inevitably leads to spontaneous emission via the Purcell effect,photon-induced dephasing from measurement back-action, and errors caused by unwanted interactions with nearby quantum systems. To tackle this fundamental challenge, we make use of the design flexibility of superconducting quantum circuits to form a multi-mode element — an artificial molecule — with symmetry-protected modes. The proposed circuit consists of three superconducting islands coupled to a central island via Josephson junctions. It exhibits two essential non-linear modes, one of which is flux-insensitive and used as the protected qubit mode. The second mode is flux-tunable and serves via a cross-Kerr type coupling as a mediator to control the dispersive coupling of the qubit mode to the readout resonator. We demonstrate the Purcell protection of the qubit mode by measuring relaxation times that are independent of the mediated dispersive coupling. We show that the coherence of the qubit is not limited by photon-induced dephasing when detuning the mediator mode from the readout resonator and thereby reducing the dispersive coupling. The resulting highly protected qubit with tunable interactions may serve as a basic building block of a scalable quantum processor architecture, in which qubit decoherence is strongly suppressed.

Quantum algorithms often benefit from the ability to execute multi-qubit (>2) gates. To date such multi-qubit gates are typically decomposed into single- and two-qubit gates, particularlyin superconducting qubit architectures. The ability to perform multi-qubit operations in a single step could vastly improve the fidelity and execution time of many algorithms. Here, we propose a single shot method for executing an i-Toffoli gate, a three-qubit gate gate with two control and one target qubit, using currently existing superconducting hardware. We show numerical evidence for a process fidelity over 98% and a gate time of 500 ns for superconducting qubits interacting via tunable couplers. Our method can straight forwardly be extended to implement gates with more than two control qubits at similar fidelities.

Recent discoveries in topological physics hold a promise for disorder-robust quantum systems and technologies. Topological states provide the crucial ingredient of such systems featuringincreased 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.