The microscopic origin of 1/f magnetic flux noise in superconducting circuits has remained an open question for several decades despite extensive experimental and theoretical investigation.Recent progress in superconducting devices for quantum information has highlighted the need to mitigate sources of qubit decoherence, driving a renewed interest in understanding the underlying noise mechanism(s). Though a consensus has emerged attributing flux noise to surface spins, their identity and interaction mechanisms remain unclear, prompting further study. Here we apply weak in-plane magnetic fields to a capacitively-shunted flux qubit (where the Zeeman splitting of surface spins lies below the device temperature) and study the flux-noise-limited qubit dephasing, revealing previously unexplored trends that may shed light on the dynamics behind the emergent 1/f noise. Notably, we observe an enhancement (suppression) of the spin-echo (Ramsey) pure dephasing time in fields up to B=100 G. With direct noise spectroscopy, we further observe a transition from a 1/f to approximately Lorentzian frequency dependence below 10 Hz and a reduction of the noise above 1 MHz with increasing magnetic field. We suggest that these trends are qualitatively consistent with an increase of spin cluster sizes with magnetic field. These results should help to inform a complete microscopic theory of 1/f flux noise in superconducting circuits.

Routing quantum information between non-local computational nodes is a foundation for extensible networks of quantum processors. Quantum information can be transferred between arbitrarynodes by photons that propagate between them, or by resonantly coupling nearby nodes. Notably, conventional approaches involving propagating photons have limited fidelity due to photon loss and are often unidirectional, whereas architectures that use direct resonant coupling are bidirectional in principle, but can generally accommodate only a few local nodes. Here, we demonstrate high-fidelity, on-demand, bidirectional photon emission using an artificial molecule comprising two superconducting qubits strongly coupled to a waveguide. Quantum interference between the photon emission pathways from the molecule generate single photons that selectively propagate in a chosen direction. This architecture is capable of both photon emission and capture, and can be tiled in series to form an extensible network of quantum processors with all-to-all connectivity.

As progress is made towards the first generation of error-corrected quantum computers, careful characterization of a processor’s noise environment will be crucial to designingtailored, low-overhead error correction protocols. While standard coherence metrics and characterization protocols such as T1 and T2, process tomography, and randomized benchmarking are now ubiquitous, these techniques provide only partial information about the dynamic multi-qubit loss channels responsible for processor errors, which can be described more fully by a Lindblad operator in the master equation formalism. Here, we introduce and experimentally demonstrate Lindblad Tomography, a hardware-agnostic characterization protocol for tomographically reconstructing the Hamiltonian and Lindblad operators of a quantum channel from an ensemble of time-domain measurements. Performing Lindblad Tomography on a small superconducting quantum processor, we show that this technique characterizes and accounts for state-preparation and measurement (SPAM) errors and allows one to place strong bounds on the degree of non-Markovianity in the channels of interest. Comparing the results of single- and two-qubit measurements on a superconducting quantum processor, we demonstrate that Lindblad Tomography can also be used to identify and quantify sources of crosstalk on quantum processors, such as the presence of always-on qubit-qubit interactions.

System noise identification is crucial to the engineering of robust quantum systems. Although existing quantum noise spectroscopy (QNS) protocols measure an aggregate amount of noiseaffecting a quantum system, they generally cannot distinguish between the underlying processes that contribute to it. Here, we propose and experimentally validate a spin-locking-based QNS protocol that exploits the multi-level energy structure of a superconducting qubit to achieve two notable advances. First, our protocol extends the spectral range of weakly anharmonic qubit spectrometers beyond the present limitations set by their lack of strong anharmonicity. Second, the additional information gained from probing the higher-excited levels enables us to identify and distinguish contributions from different underlying noise mechanisms.

Superconducting qubits are leading candidates in the race to build a quantum computer capable of realizing computations beyond the reach of modern supercomputers. The superconductingqubit modality has been used to demonstrate prototype algorithms in the `noisy intermediate scale quantum‘ (NISQ) technology era, in which non-error-corrected qubits are used to implement quantum simulations and quantum algorithms. With the recent demonstrations of multiple high fidelity two-qubit gates as well as operations on logical qubits in extensible superconducting qubit systems, this modality also holds promise for the longer-term goal of building larger-scale error-corrected quantum computers. In this brief review, we discuss several of the recent experimental advances in qubit hardware, gate implementations, readout capabilities, early NISQ algorithm implementations, and quantum error correction using superconducting qubits. While continued work on many aspects of this technology is certainly necessary, the pace of both conceptual and technical progress in the last years has been impressive, and here we hope to convey the excitement stemming from this progress.