Cat qubits, for which logical |0⟩ and |1⟩ are coherent states |±α⟩ of a harmonic mode, offer a promising route towards quantum error correction. Using dissipation to our advantageso that photon pairs of the harmonic mode are exchanged with single photons of its environment, it is possible to stabilize the logical states and exponentially increase the bit-flip time of the cat qubit with the photon number |α|2. Large two-photon dissipation rate κ2 ensures fast qubit manipulation and short error correction cycles, which are instrumental to correct the remaining phase-flip errors in a repetition code of cat qubits. Here we introduce and operate an autoparametric superconducting circuit that couples a mode containing the cat qubit to a lossy mode whose frequency is set at twice that of the cat mode. This passive coupling does not require a parametric pump and reaches a rate κ2/2π≈2 MHz. With such a strong two-photon dissipation, bit-flip errors of the autoparametric cat qubit are prevented for a characteristic time up to 0.3 s with only a mild impact on phase-flip errors. Besides, we illustrate how the phase of a quantum superposition between |α⟩ and |−α⟩ can be arbitrarily changed by driving the harmonic mode while keeping the engineered dissipation active.

Cavity quantum electrodynamics (QED) uses a cavity to engineer the mode structure of the vacuum electromagnetic field such as to enhance the interaction between light and matter. Exploitingthese ideas in solid-state systems has lead to circuit QED which has emerged as a valuable tool to explore the rich physics of quantum optics and as a platform for quantum computation. Here we introduce a simple approach to further engineer the light-matter interaction in a driven cavity by controllably decoupling a qubit from the cavity’s photon population, effectively cloaking the qubit from the cavity. This is realized by driving the qubit with an external tone tailored to destructively interfere with the cavity field, leaving the qubit to interact with a cavity which appears to be in the vacuum state. Our experiment demonstrates how qubit cloaking can be exploited to cancel ac-Stark shift and measurement-induced dephasing, and to accelerate qubit readout.

Qubit measurement and control in circuit QED rely on microwave drives, with higher drive amplitudes ideally leading to faster processes. However, degradation in qubit coherence timeand readout fidelity has been observed even under moderate drive amplitudes corresponding to few photons populating the measurement resonator. Here, we numerically explore the dynamics of a driven transmon-resonator system under strong and nearly resonant measurement drives, and find clear signatures of transmon ionization where the qubit escapes out of its cosine potential. Using a semiclassical model, we interpret this ionization as resulting from resonances occurring at specific resonator photon populations. We find that the photon populations at which these spurious transitions occur are strongly parameter dependent and that they can occur at low resonator photon population, something which may explain the experimentally observed degradation in measurement fidelity.

A central requirement for any quantum error correction scheme is the ability to perform quantum non-demolition measurements of an error syndrome, corresponding to a special symmetryproperty of the encoding scheme. It is in particular important that such a measurement does not introduce extra error mechanisms, not included in the error model of the correction scheme. In this letter, we ensure such a robustness by designing an interaction with a measurement device that preserves the degeneracy of the measured observable. More precisely, we propose a scheme to perform continuous and quantum non-demolition measurement of photon-number parity in a microwave cavity. This corresponds to the error syndrome in a class of error correcting codes called the cat-codes, which have recently proven to be efficient and versatile for quantum information processing. In our design, we exploit the strongly nonlinear Hamiltonian of a high-impedance Josephson circuit, coupling a high-Q cavity storage cavity mode to a low-Q readout one. By driving the readout resonator at its resonance, the phase of the reflected/transmitted signal carries directly exploitable information on parity-type observables for encoded cat-qubits of the high-Q mode.