Understanding the non-deterministic behavior of deterministic nonlinear systems has been an implicit dream since Lorenz named it the „butterfly effect“. A prominent exampleis the hysteresis and bistability of the Duffing oscillator, which in the classical description is attributed to the coexistence of two steady states in a double-well potential. However, this interpretation fails in the quantum-mechanical perspective, where a single unique steady state is allowed in the whole parameter space. Here, we measure the non-equilibrium dynamics of a superconducting Duffing oscillator and reconcile the classical and quantum descriptions in a unified picture of quantum metastability. We demonstrate that the two classically regarded steady states are in fact metastable states. They have a remarkably long lifetime in the classical hysteresis regime but must eventually relax into a single unique steady state allowed by quantum mechanics. By engineering the lifetime of the metastable states sufficiently large, we observe a first-order dissipative phase transition, which mimics a sudden change of the mean field in a 11-site Bose-Hubbard lattice. We also reveal the two distinct phases of the transition by quantum state tomography, namely a coherent-state phase and a squeezed-state phase separated by a critical point. Our results reveal a smooth quantum state evolution behind a sudden dissipative phase transition, and they form an essential step towards understanding hysteresis and instability in non-equilibrium systems.

We have fabricated and studied a system of two tunable and coupled nonlinear superconducting resonators. The nonlinearity is introduced by galvanically coupled dc-SQUIDs. We simulatethe system response by means of a circuit model, which includes an additional signal path introduced by the electromagnetic environment. Furthermore, we present two methods allowing us to experimentally determine the nonlinearity. First, we fit the measured frequency and flux dependence of the transmission data to simulations based on the equivalent circuit model. Second, we fit the power dependence of the transmission data to a model that is predicted by the nonlinear equation of motion describing the system. Our results show that we are able to tune the nonlinearity of the resonators by almost two orders of magnitude via an external coil and two on-chip antennas. The studied system represents the basic building block for larger systems, allowing for quantum simulations of bosonic many-body systems with a larger number of lattice sites.

Superconducting 3D microwave cavities offer state-of-the-art coherence times and a well controlled environment for superconducting qubits. In order to realize at the same time fastreadout and long-lived quantum information storage, one can couple the qubit both to a low-quality readout and a high-quality storage cavity. However, such systems are bulky compared to their less coherent 2D counterparts. A more compact and scalable approach is achieved by making use of the multimode structure of a 3D cavity. In our work, we investigate such a device where a transmon qubit is capacitively coupled to two modes of a single 3D cavity. The external coupling is engineered so that the memory mode has an about 100 times larger quality factor than the readout mode. Using an all-microwave second-order protocol, we realize a lifetime enhancement of the stored state over the qubit lifetime by a factor of 6 with a Z-fidelity of 82%. We also find that this enhancement is not limited by fundamental constraints.

The concept of parity describes the inversion symmetry of a system and is of fundamental relevance in the standard model, quantum information processing, and field theory. In quantumelectrodynamics, parity is conserved and selection rules (SRs) appear when matter is probed with electromagnetic radiation. However, typically large field gradients are required to engineer the parity of the light-matter interaction operator for natural atoms. In this work, we instead irradiate a specifically designed superconducting artificial atom with spatially shaped microwave fields to select the interaction parity in situ. In this way, we observe dipole and quadrupole SRs for single state transitions and induce transparency via longitudinal coupling. Furthermore, we engineer an artificial potassium-like atom with adjustable wave function parity originating from an artificial orbital momentum provided by a resonator. Our work advances light-matter interaction to a new level with promising application perspectives in simulations of chemical compounds, quantum state engineering, and relativistic physics.

Josephson parametric amplifiers (JPA) have become key devices in quantum science and technology with superconducting circuits. In particular, they can be utilized as quantum-limitedamplifiers or as a source of squeezed microwave fields. Here, we report on the detailed measurements of five flux-driven JPAs, three of them exhibiting a hysteretic dependence of the resonant frequency versus the applied magnetic flux. We model the measured characteristics by numerical simulations based on the two-dimensional potential landscape of the dc superconducting quantum interference devices (dc-SQUID), which provide the JPA nonlinearity, for a finite screening parameter βL>0 and demonstrate excellent agreement between the numerical results and the experimental data. Furthermore, we study the nondegenerate response of different JPAs and accurately describe the experimental results with our theory.

We present a systematic analysis of the internal losses of superconducting coplanar waveguide microwave resonators based on niobium thin films on silicon substrates. At millikelvintemperatures and low power, we find that the characteristic saturation power of two-level state (TLS) losses shows a pronounced temperature dependence. Furthermore, TLS losses can also be introduced by Nb/Al interfaces in the center conductor, when the interfaces are not positioned at current nodes of the resonator. In addition, we confirm that TLS losses can be reduced by proper surface treatment. For resonators including Al, quasiparticle losses become relevant above \SI{200}{\milli\kelvin}. Finally, we investigate how losses generated by eddy currents in the conductive material on the backside of the substrate can be minimized by using thick enough substrates or metals with high conductivity on the substrate backside.

A superconducting qubit coupled to an open transmission line represents an implementation of the spin-boson model with a broadband environment. We show that this environment can beengineered by introducing partial reflectors into the transmission line, allowing to shape the spectral function, J({\omega}), of the spin-boson model. The spectral function can be accessed by measuring the resonance fluorescence of the qubit, which provides information on both the engineered environment and the coupling between qubit and transmission line. The spectral function of a transmission line without partial reflectors is found to be Ohmic over a wide frequency range, whereas a peaked spectral density is found for the shaped environment. Our work lays the ground for future quantum simulations of other, more involved, impurity models with superconducting circuits.