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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Superconducting flux qubits for high-connectivity quantum annealing without lossy dielectrics

  • Author(s): Quintana, Christopher
  • Advisor(s): Martinis, John M
  • et al.

Quantum annealing can potentially be used to find better solutions to hard optimization problems faster than purely classical hardware. To take full advantage of quantum effects such as tunneling, a physical annealer should be comprised of qubits with a sufficient degree of quantum coherence. In addition, to encode useful problems, an annealer should provide a dense physical connectivity graph between qubits. Towards these goals, we develop superconducting ``fluxmon'' flux qubits suitable for high-connectivity quantum annealing without the use of performance-degrading lossy dielectrics. We carry out in-depth studies of noise and dissipation, and of qubit-qubit coupling in the strongly nonlinear regime. We perform the first frequency-resolved measurements extracting both the quantum and classical parts of the 1/f flux noise intrinsic to superconducting devices, and observe the classical-to-quantum crossover of the noise. We also identify atomic hydrogen as a magnetic dissipation source. We then implement tunable inter-qubit coupling compatible with high connectivity, and provide direct spectroscopic measurements of ultra-strong coupling between qubits. Finally, we use our system to explore quantum annealing faster than the system thermalization time, a previously unaccessed regime.

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