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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Simulating Quantum Chemical Dynamics with Improved Superconducting Qubits

  • Author(s): Megrant, Anthony Edward
  • Advisor(s): Cleland, Andrew
  • Palmstrom, Chris
  • et al.

A quantum computer will potentially solve far-reaching problems which are currently intractable on any classical computer. Many technological obstacles have prevented the realization of a quantum computer, the main obstacle being decoherence, which is the loss of quantum information. Decoherence arises from the undesired interaction between qubits and their environment. Isolated qubits have better coherence but are more difficult to control. Superconducting qubits are a promising platform since their macroscopic size allows for easy control and coupling to other qubits. While the coherence of superconducting qubits has substantially improved over the past two decades, further improvements in coherence are required.

We have repeatedly and reliably increased the coherence times of superconducting qubits. Currently decoherence in these devices is dominated by coupling to material defects. These defects are present in the dielectrics used to fabricate these devices or introduced during fabrication. Using simpler resonators as a testbed, we individually isolate, characterize, and then improve each step of the more complicated fabrication of superconducting qubits. We increased the quality factor of resonators by a factor of four by first identifying the surfaces and interfaces as a major source of loss and then by optimizing the substrate preparation. Furthermore, we measure and subsequently mitigate additional defect loss, which is dependent on the position of ground plane holes used to limit the loss from magnetic vortices. Implementing these improvements led to an increase of our qubit coherence times by more than an order of magnitude.

The progress made in coherence while maintaining a high degree of connectivity and controllability has been directly used in more complex circuits. One such device is a fully connected three qubit ring with both tunable qubit frequencies and adjustable qubit-qubit couplings. The considerable level of control allows us to generate the quantum dynamics resulting from a collision between Na and He atoms by encoding the problem into a time-dependent multi-qubit interaction. We compute a scattering cross section by measuring the probability of exciting the Na atom over a wide range of collision parameters. The scattering cross-section shows that there is a velocity where the excitation probability is maximized, in agreement with scattering experiments.

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