University of Oulu

Nonlinear and stochastic driving of a superconducting qubit

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Author: Silveri, Matti1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 3.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2013
Publish Date: 2013-04-25
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Doctoral training committee for Technology and Natural Sciences of the University of Oulu for public discussion in the Auditorium L10, on May 17th, 2013, at 12 o’clock noon.
Reviewer: Doctor Tero T. Heikkilä
Professor Ari Friberg
Opponent: Professor Jens Koch
Kustos: Professor Erkki Thuneberg


The topic of this thesis is superconducting electric circuits. Technical advances have made possible the experimental study of Josephson junction based circuit elements which sustain quantum mechanical properties long enough to be denoted as quantum devices. The quantum state can be controlled with electronic variables and measured using standard electrical setups. The research is motivated by the possibility to examine quantum phenomena in circumstances that can be customized, prospects of new quantum devices, and the development of quantum information processing.

This thesis presents theoretical studies on the nonlinear and stochastic driving of a superconducting quantum two-level system (qubit). We first investigate the energy level shifts a single-Cooper-pair transistor under large amplitude driving realized via the inherently nonlinear Josephson energy by using an external magnetic flux. The effective driving field substantially deviates from a circular polarization and linear coupling. The energy level shifts are compared to the cases of a vanishing and a weak driving field, measured as the Stark shift and the generalized Bloch-Siegert shift, respectively. We describe criteria for the natural basis of the analytical and the numerical calculations. In addition to that, we develop a formalism based on the Floquet method for the weak probe measurement of the strongly driven qubit.

In the latter part of the thesis research, we study utilization of a stochastic driving field whose time evolution is not regular but follows probabilistic laws. We concentrate on the motional averaging phenomenon and show that it can be measured with an unparalleled accuracy by employing a flux-modulated transmon qubit. As the stochastically modulated qubit is simultaneously measured with a moderate driving field, we develop a theoretical description accounting the possible interference effects between the modulation and the drive. The comparison with experimental results shows good agreement. Motional averaging phenomenon can be applied to estimate the properties of fluctuation processes occurring in qubits, e.g., the quasiparticle tunneling or the photon shot noise. Resting on the motional averaging, we anticipate that the qubit dephasing times can be improved if one can accelerate the dynamics of two-level fluctuators.

We apply a semiclassical formalism where the qubit is treated with quantum mechanical concepts whereas the driving fields are classical. In the solution procedure, the numerical results support the main analytical understanding. As the theoretical results are extensively compared to reflection measurements, we construct an explicit connection between the dynamics of the studied quantum devices and the measured reflection coefficient.

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Series: Report series in physical sciences
ISSN: 1239-4327
ISSN-L: 1239-4327
ISBN: 978-952-62-0118-4
ISBN Print: 978-952-62-0117-7
Issue: 82
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2013. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.