We describe a digital microwave platform called Presto, designed for measurement and control of multiple quantum bits (qubits) and based on the third-generation radio-frequency systemon a chip. Presto uses direct digital synthesis to create signals up to 9 GHz on 16 synchronous output ports, while synchronously analyzing response on 16 input ports. Presto has 16 DC-bias outputs, 4 inputs and 4 outputs for digital triggers or markers, and two continuous-wave outputs for synthesizing frequencies up to 15 GHz. Scaling to a large number of qubits is enabled through deterministic synchronization of multiple Presto units. A Python application programming interface configures a firmware for synthesis and analysis of pulses, coordinated by an event sequencer. The analysis integrates template matching (matched filtering) and low-latency (184 – 254 ns) feedback to enable a wide range of multi-qubit experiments. We demonstrate Presto’s capabilities with experiments on a sample consisting of two superconducting qubits connected via a flux-tunable coupler. We show single-shot readout and active reset of a single qubit; randomized benchmarking of single-qubit gates showing 99.972% fidelity, limited by the coherence time of the qubit; and calibration of a two-qubit iSWAP gate.

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.

Hosting non-classical states of light in three-dimensional microwave cavities has emerged as a promising paradigm for continuous-variable quantum information processing. Here we experimentallydemonstrate high-fidelity generation of a range of Wigner-negative states useful for quantum computation, such as Schrödinger-cat states, binomial states, Gottesman-Kitaev-Preskill (GKP) states, as well as cubic phase states. The latter states have been long sought after in quantum optics and were never achieved experimentally before. To do so, we use a sequence of interleaved selective number-dependent arbitrary phase (SNAP) gates and displacements. We optimize the state preparation in two steps. First we use a gradient-descent algorithm to optimize the parameters of the SNAP and displacement gates. Then we optimize the envelope of the pulses implementing the SNAP gates. Our results show that this way of creating highly non-classical states in a harmonic oscillator is robust to fluctuations of the system parameters such as the qubit frequency and the dispersive shift.

We observe the continuous emission of photons into a waveguide from a superconducting qubit without the application of an external drive. To explain this observation, we build a two-bathmodel where the qubit couples simultaneously to a cold bath (the waveguide) and a hot bath (a secondary environment). Our results show that the thermal-photon occupation of the hot bath is up to 0.14 photons, 35 times larger than the cold waveguide, leading to nonequilibrium heat transport with a power of up to 132 zW, as estimated from the qubit emission spectrum. By adding more isolation between the sample output and the first cold amplifier in the output line, the heat transport is strongly suppressed. Our interpretation is that the hot bath may arise from active two-level systems being excited by noise from the output line. We also apply a coherent drive, and use the waveguide to measure thermodynamic work and heat, suggesting waveguide spectroscopy is a useful means to study quantum heat engines and refrigerators. Finally, based on the theoretical model, we propose how a similar setup can be used as a noise spectrometer which provides a new solution for calibrating the background noise of hybrid quantum systems.

The ability to control and measure the temperature of propagating microwave modes down to very low temperatures is indispensable for quantum information processing, and may open opportunitiesfor studies of heat transport at the nanoscale, also in the quantum regime. Here we propose and experimentally demonstrate primary thermometry of propagating microwaves using a transmon-type superconducting circuit. Our device operates continuously, with a sensitivity down to 4×10−4 photons/Hz−−−√ and a bandwidth of 40 MHz. We measure the thermal occupation of the modes of a highly attenuated coaxial cable in a range of 0.001 to 0.4 thermal photons, corresponding to a temperature range from 35 mK to 210 mK at a frequency around 5 GHz. To increase the radiation temperature in a controlled fashion, we either inject calibrated, wideband digital noise, or heat the device and its environment. This thermometry scheme can find applications in benchmarking and characterization of cryogenic microwave setups, temperature measurements in hybrid quantum systems, and quantum thermodynamics.

We provide an explicit construction of a universal gate set for continuous-variable quantum computation with microwave circuits. Such a universal set has been first proposed in quantum-opticalsetups, but its experimental implementation has remained elusive in that domain due to the difficulties in engineering strong nonlinearities. Here, we show that a realistic microwave architecture allows to overcome this difficulty. As an application, we show that this architecture allows to generate a cubic phase state with an experimentally feasible procedure. This work highlights a practical advantage of microwave circuits with respect to optical systems for the purpose of engineering non-Gaussian states, and opens the quest for continuous-variable algorithms based on a few repetitions of elementary gates from the continuous-variable universal set.

The parity of the number of elementary excitations present in a quantum system provides important insights into its physical properties. Parity measurements are used, for example, totomographically reconstruct quantum states or to determine if a decay of an excitation has occurred, information which can be used for quantum error correction in computation or communication protocols. Here we demonstrate a versatile parity detector for propagating microwaves, which distinguishes between radiation fields containing an even or odd number n of photons, both in a single-shot measurement and without perturbing the parity of the detected field. We showcase applications of the detector for direct Wigner tomography of propagating microwaves and heralded generation of Schrödinger cat states. This parity detection scheme is applicable over a broad frequency range and may prove useful, for example, for heralded or fault-tolerant quantum communication protocols.

We experimentally investigate a superconducting qubit coupled to the end of an open transmission line, in a regime where the qubit decay rates to the transmission line and to its ownenvironment are comparable. We perform measurements of coherent and incoherent scattering, on- and off-resonant fluorescence, and time-resolved dynamics to determine the decay and decoherence rates of the qubit. In particular, these measurements let us discriminate between non-radiative decay and pure dephasing. We combine and contrast results across all methods and find consistent values for the extracted rates. The results show that the pure dephasing rate is one order of magnitude smaller than the non-radiative decay rate for our qubit. Our results indicate a pathway to benchmark decoherence rates of superconducting qubits in a resonator-free setting.

Heralding techniques are useful in quantum communication to circumvent losses without resorting to error correction schemes or quantum repeaters. Such techniques are realized, for example,by monitoring for photon loss at the receiving end of the quantum link while not disturbing the transmitted quantum state. We describe and experimentally benchmark a scheme that incorporates error detection in a quantum channel connecting two transmon qubits using traveling microwave photons. This is achieved by encoding the quantum information as a time-bin superposition of a single photon, which simultaneously realizes high communication rates and high fidelities. The presented scheme is straightforward to implement in circuit QED and is fully microwave-controlled, making it an interesting candidate for future modular quantum computing architectures.

Active qubit reset is a key operation in many quantum algorithms, and particularly in error correction codes. Here, we experimentally demonstrate a reset scheme of a three level transmonartificial atom coupled to a large bandwidth resonator. The reset protocol uses a microwave-induced interaction between the |f,0⟩ and |g,1⟩ states of the coupled transmon-resonator system, with |g⟩ and |f⟩ denoting the ground and second excited states of the transmon, and |0⟩ and |1⟩ the photon Fock states of the resonator. We characterize the reset process and demonstrate reinitialization of the transmon-resonator system to its ground state with 0.2% residual excitation in less than 500ns. Our protocol is of practical interest as it has no requirements on the architecture, beyond those for fast and efficient single-shot readout of the transmon, and does not require feedback.