The Josephson parametric oscillator - From microscopic studies to single-shot qubit readout
Circuit quantum electrodynamics (cQED) is a prominent platform for quantum information processing, in which microwave photons are confined into resonant cavities coupled to superconducting quantum bits (qubits). The large effective dipole moment of the qubit, in combination with the high energy density of the quasi 1-D resonator allow these systems to enter the so-called strong coupling regime. The quantum state of the qubit can then be assessed by probing the frequency of the resonator, protecting the qubit from otherwise losing its energy to the environment. However, eventhough this so-called dispersive readout technique has proven useful, it is often in itself insufficient to render single-shot readout performance | one of the crucial tasks required for realizing a quantum computer.
This thesis describes the demonstration of a single-shot readout technique for
superconducting quantum bits, based on coupling the qubit to a frequency-tunable resonator. The backbone of our device is a 5 GHz quarter-wavelength coplanar waveguide resonator, terminated at one end by a non-linear inductance provided by a superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID). The SQUID acts as a flux-controlled boundary condition, which effectively changes the electrical length of the resonator. This enables the modulation of the resonant frequency by coupling microwave magnetic flux into the SQUID, using an on-chip transmission line. The modulation occurs on a timescale much faster than the photon loss out of the resonator and if the pump strength exceeds a threshold value set by the damping rate of the resonator, an intense photon field will build up inside the resonator | known as "parametric oscillations".
By heterodyne detection of the output signal from the Josephson parametric oscillator (JPO), we first extracted two leading nonlinear effects of the system (dominating in different limits of applied magnetic flux). Next, we couple a qubit to the JPO and demonstrate that we can encode its quantum state onto the strong output field of the parametric oscillator (or lack thereof), rendering a signal-to-noise ratio sufficient for single-shot state detection and therefore also obviating a quantum limited parametric amplifier.
The thesis also contains results from microscopic studies of the Josephson junctions, which we use to provide the necessary nonlinearities in the above mentioned devices. In particular, we show how the microstructure of the barrier layer and its atomic composition can be used to infer important electrical properties of the junctions. This knowledge allows us to better tailor the properties of Josephson-based devices.
circuit quantum electrodynamics