Two-level system (TLS) loss is typically limiting the coherence of superconducting quantum circuits. The loss induced by TLS defects is nonlinear, resulting in quality factors witha strong dependence on the circulating microwave power. We observe frequency mixing due to this nonlinearity by applying a two-tone drive to a coplanar waveguide resonator and measuring the intermodulation products using a multifrequency lock-in technique. This intermodulation spectroscopy method provides an efficient approach to characterizing TLS loss in superconducting circuits. Using harmonic balance reconstruction, we recover the nonlinear parameters of the device-TLS interaction, which are in good agreement with the standard tunnelling model for TLSs.

We demonstrate aluminum-on-silicon planar transmon qubits with time-averaged T1 energy relaxation times of up to 270μs, corresponding to Q = 5 million, and a highest observed valueof 501μs. We use materials analysis techniques and numerical simulations to investigate the dominant sources of energy loss, and devise and demonstrate a strategy towards mitigating them. The mitigation of loss is achieved by reducing the presence of oxide, a known host of defects, near the substrate-metal interface, by growing aluminum films thicker than 300 nm. A loss analysis of coplanar-waveguide resonators shows that the improvement is owing to a reduction of dielectric loss due to two-level system defects. We perform time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry and observe a reduced presence of oxygen at the substrate-metal interface for the thicker films. The correlation between the enhanced performance and the film thickness is due to the tendency of aluminum to grow in columnar structures of parallel grain boundaries, where the size of the grain depends on the film thickness: transmission electron microscopy imaging shows that the thicker film has larger grains and consequently fewer grain boundaries containing oxide near this interface. These conclusions are supported by numerical simulations of the different loss contributions in the device.

High-fidelity and rapid readout of a qubit state is key to quantum computing and communication, and it is a prerequisite for quantum error correction. We present a readout scheme forsuperconducting qubits that combines two microwave techniques: applying a shelving technique to the qubit that effectively increases the energy-relaxation time, and a two-tone excitation of the readout resonator to distinguish among qubit populations in higher energy levels. Using a machine-learning algorithm to post-process the two-tone measurement results further improves the qubit-state assignment fidelity. We perform single-shot frequency-multiplexed qubit readout, with a 140ns readout time, and demonstrate 99.5% assignment fidelity for two-state readout and 96.9% for three-state readout – without using a quantum-limited amplifier.

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.

Tailoring the decay rate of structured quantum emitters into their environment opens new avenues for nonlinear quantum optics, collective phenomena, and quantum communications. Herewe demonstrate a novel coupling scheme between an artificial molecule comprising two identical, strongly coupled transmon qubits, and two microwave waveguides. In our scheme, the coupling is engineered so that transitions between states of the same (opposite) symmetry, with respect to the permutation operator, are predominantly coupled to one (the other) waveguide. The symmetry-based coupling selectivity, as quantified by the ratio of the coupling strengths, exceeds a factor of 30 for both the waveguides in our device. In addition, we implement a two-photon Raman process activated by simultaneously driving both waveguides, and show that it can be used to coherently couple states of different symmetry in the single-excitation manifold of the molecule. Using that process, we implement frequency conversion across the waveguides, mediated by the molecule, with efficiency of about 95%. Finally, we show that this coupling arrangement makes it possible to straightforwardly generate spatially-separated Bell states propagating across the waveguides. We envisage further applications to quantum thermodynamics, microwave photodetection, and photon-photon gates.

We have integrated single and coupled superconducting transmon qubits into flip-chip modules. Each module consists of two chips – one quantum chip and one control chip –that are bump-bonded together. We demonstrate time-averaged coherence times exceeding 90μs, single-qubit gate fidelities exceeding 99.9%, and two-qubit gate fidelities above 98.6%. We also present device design methods and discuss the sensitivity of device parameters to variation in interchip spacing. Notably, the additional flip-chip fabrication steps do not degrade the qubit performance compared to our baseline state-of-the-art in single-chip, planar circuits. This integration technique can be extended to the realisation of quantum processors accommodating hundreds of qubits in one module as it offers adequate input/output wiring access to all qubits and couplers.