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Quantum Jumping

Quantum Jumping

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Published by Reginald L. Goodwin
A step towards the quantum computer!
A step towards the quantum computer!

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: Reginald L. Goodwin on Sep 18, 2010
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09/23/2013

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Observation of quantum jumps in a superconducting artificial atom
R. Vijay
, D. H. Slichter
, and I. Siddiqi
Quantum Nanoelectronics Laboratory, Department of Physics, University of California, Berkeley CA 94720 
(Dated: September 16, 2010)
A continuously monitored quantum system pre-pared in an excited state will decay to its groundstate with an abrupt jump. The jump occursstochastically on a characteristic time scale
1
,the lifetime of the excited state. These quan-tum jumps, originally envisioned by Bohr, havebeen observed in trapped atoms and ions
1–3
, sin-gle molecules
4
, photons
5
, and single electrons incyclotrons
6
. Here we report the first observa-tion of quantum jumps in a macroscopic quantumsystem, in our case a superconducting “artificialatom” or quantum bit (qubit)
7
coupled to a su-perconducting microwave cavity
8
. We use a fast,ultralow-noise parametric amplifier
9
to amplifythe microwave photons used to probe the qubitstate, enabling continuous high-fidelity monitor-ing of the qubit. This technique represents a ma- jor step forward for solid state quantum infor-mation processing, potentially enabling quantumerror correction and feedback
10
, which are essen-tial for building a quantum computer. Our tech-nology can also be readily integrated into hybridcircuits involving molecular magnets, nitrogen va-cancies in diamond, or semiconductor quantumdots.
Quantum error correction, an essential component of a practical quantum computer, requires real-time, high-fidelity readout to accurately determine the quantumstate of the system and to allow rapid feedback
10
. Thereadout must also be quantum non-demolition (QND),that is, it must leave the system in an eigenstate of themeasured observable
11
, thus allowing repeated measure-ments. To fulfill these requirements, we use the circuitquantum electrodynamics (cQED) architecture, wherethe superconducting qubit is dispersively coupled to asuperconducting cavity
12
, in analogy to an atom in aFabry-Perot cavity. The cavity decouples the qubit fromits environment, improving coherence times
8,13
while alsoenabling a continuous, high visibility, QND measurementof the qubit state by probing the resonant frequency of the cavity
14
. These properties make the cQED architec-ture an ideal system for observing quantum jumps
15
.Despite successfully demonstrating QND measure-ment with several kinds of superconducting qubits
8,13,16
,cQED implementations with linear cavities have typicallysuffered from low single-shot fidelity, precluding the ob-servation of quantum jumps. This is primarily due to in-efficient amplification of the photons leaving the cavity.State of the art cryogenic semiconductor microwave am-plifiers add about 30 photons of noise, necessitating manyaverages to see the few-photon readout signal
14
. Usingmore readout photons induces qubit state mixing
17
, thuslimiting the fidelity. Other high fidelity readout schemesimplemented for superconducting qubits are either tooslow
18
or scramble the qubit state
19
. Josephson para-metric amplifiers
20,21
with near quantum limited noiseperformance can potentially enable single shot readoutin the cQED architecture, but most existing designs havean instantaneous bandwidth below 1 MHz, too small toenable real time monitoring of the qubit state. Since su-perconducting qubit lifetimes are typically around 1
µ
s,one would need a bandwidth of order 10 MHz to resolvequantum jumps between qubit states with high fidelity.We achieve this by using a low quality factor (Q) nonlin-ear resonator as a parametric amplifier
9
.Our experimental setup, shown schematically in Fig.1, is anchored to the mixing chamber of a dilution re-frigerator at 30 mK. The superconducting readout cav-ity is implemented as a quasi-lumped element linear res-onator consisting of a meander inductor (orange) in par-allel with an interdigitated capacitor (blue). A trans-mon qubit (yellow)
22
is capacitively coupled to the cav-ity. This arrangement is different than typical cQED se-tups which use transmission line resonators for the cavity.Our design has a smaller footprint and avoids the detri-mental higher cavity modes found in transmission lineresonators
13
. Further details of the qubit and cavity arepresented in the Methods section. Probe photons enterfrom the input port and reflect off the readout cavity,acquiring a phase shift that depends on the qubit state.These photons then travel through a series of circula-tors, which allow microwave signals to propagate in onedirection as indicated by the arrows in the figure, andreflect off a low Q non-linear resonator. When biasednear its critical point
23
by a strong pump tone from thedrive port, this resonator amplifies the readout signaland sends it to the output port. This amplifier designsimultaneously achieves high gain, low noise and largebandwidth
9
.We operate with the qubit frequency set at 4
.
753GHz, corresponding to a detuning ∆ = 2
π
×
1
.
170 GHzfrom the bare readout cavity frequency of 5
.
923 GHz.With a coupling strength
g
= 2
π
×
109
±
0
.
5 MHz, thedispersive shift of the cavity
12
due to the qubit state
χ
=
g
2
/
∆ = 2
π
×
10
.
15 MHz is considerably larger thanthe cavity linewidth
κ
= 2
π
×
4
.
9 MHz. Therefore, mea-surement photons at 5
.
932 GHz exiting the readout cav-ity will have a relative phase shift of 0 or 180 degrees,depending on the state of the qubit. When these pho-tons arrive at the amplifier resonator, they coherentlyadd to or subtract from the pump (also at 5
.
932 GHz, andtuned to be in phase with the readout photons), causing
  a  r   X   i  v  :   1   0   0   9 .   2   9   6   9  v   1   [  c  o  n   d  -  m  a   t .  m  e  s  -   h  a   l   l   ]   1   5   S  e  p   2   0   1   0
 
2
b
InputDriveOutput
c
Readout cavity + qubitAmplifier resonator 
a
FIG. 1:
Experimental setup.
In
(a)
, readout photons (black arrow) enter from the input port and are directed through amicrowave circulator to a 180
hybrid, which converts the single-ended microwave signal into a differential one. The photonsinteract with the readout cavity and the reflected signal (purple arrows) carries information about the qubit state toward thenon-linear resonator through three circulators, which isolate the readout and qubit from the strong pump of the amplifierresonator. A directional coupler combines this signal with pump photons (green arrow) from the drive port. The pumpednonlinear resonator amplifies the readout signal, and the amplified signal (red arrows) is reflected and sent through the thirdcirculator to the output port. The signal is further amplified by cryogenic and room temperature amplifiers before beingmixed down to zero frequency, digitized, and stored in a computer. Qubit manipulation pulses enter on the same line as thereadout pulses.
(b)
false-color optical image of the readout resonator, formed by a meander inductor (orange) shunted by aninterdigitated capacitor (blue). The transmon qubit (yellow) is capacitively coupled to the resonator. The detail view showsthe qubit loop. Scale bars are 100
µ
m (main view) and 10
µ
m (detail view).
(c)
false-color optical image of the amplifierresonator showing the superconducting loop (pink) and junctions (black), shunted by large parallel-plate capacitors (cyan) ona SiN
x
-coated Nb ground plane (brown). Scale bars are 100
µ
m (main view) and 5
µ
m (detail view).
a phase shift of up to 180 degrees in the reflected pumpphotons which form the output signal. This can be seenin Fig. 2a, where the average phase of the output signalis plotted as a function of pump power. The two tracescorrespond to measurements taken with the qubit pre-pared in the ground (blue) and excited (red) states, withan average readout cavity population ¯
n
of one photon(calibrated using the ac Stark effect
24
). By choosing anappropriate pump power bias point, the two qubit statesare faithfully mapped to distinct phases of the reflectedpump. Since there are many more pump photons thansignal photons, this effectively amplifies the input signal(See Supplementary Information for more details). Theimprovement in signal to noise is evident in Figs. 2band 2c, where we plot Rabi oscillations of the qubit bothwithout and with parametric amplification.With this technique, we can perform single-shot mea-surements of the qubit state and observe quantum jumps.We prepare the qubit state with a 20 ns pulse of vary-ing amplitude at the qubit frequency of 4.753 GHz andimmediately probe the cavity with a readout power corre-sponding to ¯
n
= 8 photons, a level which optimizes read-out fidelity while keeping the measurement QND. Theamplified signal is then mixed down to zero frequency,effectively converting the phase shift signal of the read-out into a single-quadrature voltage signal. This voltage
  e  s  a   h  p   p  m   u   P
Pump power (dBm)
a
-94.2 -94.0 -93.8 -93.6-90
o
+90
o
0
o
   )   V  m    (   e  g  a   t   l  o  v   r  e  z   i   t   i  g   i   D
Rabi pulse width (ns)
bc
400014300-30000
FIG. 2:
Amplifier resonator.
In
(a)
, we plot the measuredaverage phase of the reflected pump as a function of pumppower with the qubit prepared in the ground (blue) or excited(red) states and an average readout cavity occupation of onephoton. By choosing a suitable pump power, the two qubitstates are mapped to two different phases of the output signal.Panels
(b)
and
(c)
show Rabi oscillations of the qubit with10
4
averages for each time point, both without (
b
) and with(
c
) the amplifier resonator energized. Note both the improvedsignal-to-noise ratio and the increased magnitude of the signal(on the left axis) when using the amplifier.
is then digitized at 10 ns intervals. Fig. 3a shows the
 
3
abc
-150 -100 -50 0 50 100Time (ns)
      q      u        b        i       t      e      x      c        i       t      a       t        i      o      n      r      e      a        d      o      u       t
10008006004002000 Time (ns)
-0.5
0
0.5 1.0
Digitizer voltage (V)
   D   i  g   i   t   i  z  e  r  v  o   l   t  a  g  e   (   V   )
8006004002000 Time (ns)0.80.40.0-0.4
1086420
-2
Time
Digitizer voltage (V)
-0.5 0 0.5
(
μ
s)
-0.6-0.4-0.20.00.20.4
   D   i  g   i   t   i  z  e  r  v  o   l   t  a  g  e   (   V   )
1086420
-2
Time (
μ
s)
-3 0 3 6 9 12Time (
μ
s)
      q      u        b        i       t      e      x      c        i       t      a       t        i      o      n      r      e      a        d      o      u       t
de
0
π
FIG. 3:
Quantum jumps. (a)
is a timing diagram for
(b)
and
(c)
. The qubit is excited with a pulse of varying amplitude,and the readout (black) is immediately energized, causing the cavity population (purple) to rise and effect a measurement.
(b)
shows 20 representative single-shot traces from each of three different qubit pulse amplitudes corresponding to rotations of 0
,π
, and 2
π
. Abrupt quantum jumps from the excited state (white) to the ground state (blue) are clearly visible for the datacorresponding to the
π
pulse, while the traces corresponding to 0 and 2
π
mostly do not show such features. Three individualsingle-shot time traces are shown in
(c)
; the blue trace was taken following a 2
π
pulse, while the red and green traces weretaken following a
π
pulse.
(d)
is a timing diagram for
(e)
and
(f)
. Here the readout is energized with the qubit in the groundstate, and then a continuous qubit drive is applied after a 3
µ
s delay.
(e)
and
(f)
show 60 traces and one trace, respectively, of the qubit jumping between the ground and excited state under the influence of both the qubit drive and measurement pinning.
timing diagram and Fig. 3b plots 20 individual traces foreach of three pulse amplitudes corresponding to 0
,π
, and2
π
qubit rotations. One can clearly see abrupt quantum jumps from the excited state (white) to the ground state(blue) for the data corresponding to a
π
pulse, while thetraces corresponding to 0 and 2
π
show the qubit mostlyin the ground state. A few traces after 0 and 2
π
pulsesshow jumps to the excited state, and a few traces aftera
π
pulse are never measured to be in the excited state.We attribute the first effect to qubit state mixing dueto high photon numbers in the readout cavity
17
, and thesecond effect to the qubit spontaneously decaying beforethe cavity can ramp up
14
. Three representative tracesof the quantum jumps are shown in Fig. 3c, one wherethe qubit was prepared in the ground state (blue) andtwo where it was prepared in the excited state and sub-sequently decayed (red and green).We can also look at the effects of simultaneous qubitexcitation and measurement. We energize the readoutand then turn on a long qubit excitation pulse after afew
µ
s, as shown in Fig. 3d. This qubit drive tries tocoherently change the qubit state while the projectivemeasurement forces the qubit to be in the ground or ex-cited state, resulting in the random telegraph signal seenin Figs. 3e and 3f. This inhibition of qubit state evolu-tion due to measurement is the essence of the quantumZeno effect
15,25
and will be the subject of future workusing samples with longer coherence times, allowing usto examine the dependence of the phenomenon on mea-surement strength and qubit excitation power.Finally, we look at the statistics of these quantum jumps. Fig. 4a plots a histogram of 2
×
10
4
individ-ual measurements with the qubit prepared in the excitedstate, as a function of digitizer voltage and time (see Sup-plementary Video 1 which shows the evolution of the his-togram as a function of qubit rabi drive strength). Mostof the population is measured in the excited state (pos-itive voltage) at
t
= 0 and then decays to the groundstate (negative voltage) with a time constant of 290 ns(Fig. 4b, inset). Despite the large separation betweenthe ground and excited state peaks, the maximum qubitreadout fidelity is about 70%. This can be almost en-tirely attributed to the lifetime of the qubit (290 ns) beingcomparable to the cavity rise time (66 ns)
14
, which meansthat around 30% of the excited state population decays tothe ground state before the measurement is made. Sincewe can resolve individual decay events, we can also plota histogram of the jump (excited to ground state) timesas shown in Fig. 4b (see Supplementary Video 2 whichshows the evolution of this histogram as it builds up).The histogram shows an exponential decay with a timeconstant of 270 ns. Both these time constants are con-

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