UK’s first Superconducting Quantum Bit Foundry

Researchers have designed, built and operated the first working superconducting qubit device in the UK.

Quantum bits, or qubits, are the building blocks for a future computer hardware that calculates according to the rules of quantum physics. Able to run programs and perform tasks that our present day computers simply cannot do, quantum computers are thought to be the next major step in the future of computing.

Such computers require electronic components that operate according to the laws of quantum physics, and one of the most advanced technologies presently under study worldwide for this purpose is that based on superconductors – metals that lose all of their resistance when cooled to temperatures close to absolute zero and instead display quantum coherent effects. Potential applications of the new technology, however, spread far beyond the field of quantum computing and include potential advancements in medicine and space exploration.

Professor Astafiev, leader of the NanoPhysics and NanoTechnology research group at Royal Holloway and an expert in the field, made the breakthrough in this new and fast moving technology following an investment of about £1.5 million in advanced research equipment from both Royal Holloway and collaborators at NPL.

Fabrication and measurements of superconducting flux qubits at RHUL

We successfully fabricated and characterized superconducting flux qubits coupled to an open 1D space by means of resonance fluorescence and studied its dynamics by measuring evolutions of its coherent and incoherent emission. The qubit can be considered as an artificial atom with controllable parameters. We observe strong interaction of the artificial atom with the electromagnetic field, which can result in 99% extinction of propagating waves. Furthermore, states of the atom were fully controllable by resonant excitation microwave pulses. This allows applications of controllable artificial atoms in quantum optics and photonics.

Fabrication and measurements of superconducting flux qubits at RHUL (10 pages)

RHUL/NPL doctoral student Teresa Hoenigl-Decrinis next to the advanced thin-film deposition system

SOURCE National Physical Laboratory