Detecting quasiparticle tunneling events in superconducting circuits provides information about the population and dynamics of non-equilibrium quasiparticles. Such events can be detectedby monitoring changes in the frequency of an offset-charge-sensitive superconducting qubit. This monitoring has so far been performed by Ramsey interferometry assisted by a readout resonator. Here, we demonstrate a quasiparticle detector based on a superconducting qubit directly coupled to a waveguide. We directly measure quasiparticle number parity on the qubit island by probing the coherent scattering of a microwave tone, offering simplicity of operation, fast detection speed, and a large signal-to-noise ratio. We observe tunneling rates between 0.8 and 7 s−1, depending on the average occupation of the detector qubit, and achieve a temporal resolution below 10 μs without a quantum-limited amplifier. Our simple and efficient detector lowers the barrier to perform studies of quasiparticle population and dynamics, facilitating progress in fundamental science, quantum information processing, and sensing.

While dephasing noise frequently presents obstacles for quantum devices, it can become an asset in the context of a Brownian-type quantum refrigerator. Here we demonstrate a novel quantumthermal machine that leverages noise-assisted quantum transport to fuel a cooling engine in steady state. The device exploits symmetry-selective couplings between a superconducting artificial molecule and two microwave waveguides. These waveguides act as thermal reservoirs of different temperatures, which we regulate by employing synthesized thermal fields. We inject dephasing noise through a third channel that is longitudinally coupled to an artificial atom of the molecule. By varying the relative temperatures of the reservoirs, and measuring heat currents with a resolution below 1 aW, we demonstrate that the device can be operated as a quantum heat engine, thermal accelerator, and refrigerator. Our findings open new avenues for investigating quantum thermodynamics using superconducting quantum machines coupled to thermal microwave waveguides.

A distributed quantum computing system requires a quantum communication channel between spatially separated processing units. In superconducting circuits, such a channel can be realizedby using propagating microwave photons to encode and transfer quantum information between an emitter and a receiver node. Here we experimentally demonstrate a superconducting circuit that deterministically transfers the state of a data qubit into a propagating microwave mode, with a process fidelity of 94.5%. We use a time-varying parametric drive to shape the temporal profile of the propagating mode to be time-symmetric and with constant phase, so that reabsorption by the receiving processor can be implemented as a time-reversed version of the emission. We demonstrate a self-calibrating routine to correct for time-dependent shifts of the emitted frequencies due to the modulation of the parametric drive. Our work provides a reliable method to implement high-fidelity quantum state transfer and remote entanglement operations in a distributed quantum computing network.

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.