Microwave-coupled superconducting devices for sensing and quantum information processing: Dissertation

    Research output: ThesisDissertationCollection of Articles


    Superconducting circuits and devices have unique properties that make them interesting from both theoretical and practical perspective. In a superconductor cooled below its critical temperature, electrons bound in Cooper pairs have the ability to carry current without dissipation. A structure where the Cooper pairs are coherently tunneling across a weak link is called a Josephson junction (JJ). The dissipationless and non-linear character of the JJ has found applications, e.g., in microwave amplifiers and quantum circuits. These two subjects are closely related since superconducting quantum bits (qubits) are artificial atoms with a transition spectrum in the microwave range. Mediated by microwave photons, qubit readout in circuit quantum electrodynamics (cQED) architecture requires signal boosting with a lownoise preamplifier. In this thesis, a new type of ultrasensitive JJ microwave amplifier was characterized and its noise performance was found to be close to a bound set by quantum mechanics. The amplifier uses the intrinsic negative differential resistance of a current-biased JJ. This work also addressed a challenge related to the scalability of the cQED architecture when the qubits are weakly anharmonic. In a frequency-crowded multiqubit system, driving individual qubits may cause leakage into non-computational levels of the others. Leakage-avoiding single-qubit Wah-Wah control was implemented. At maximum gate speed corresponding to the frequency crowding, microwave control of two transmon qubits on a 2D cQED quantum processor was decoherence limited. The results disclose the usefulness of Wah-Wah in a future quantum computing platform. Quasiparticles are excitations from the paired superconducting ground state of conduction electrons. As the third topic, the generation-recombination dynamics of quasiparticles was employed in sensing. In electrodynamical terms, superconducting thin films have kinetic inductance from the inertia of the Cooper pairs and resistive dissipation from the quasiparticles. If the film is a part of an electrical resonator, quasiparticle density steers its microwave eigenfrequency and quality factor. In this work, submillimetre-wave radiation and external magnetic field were first converted into quasiparticle-generating temperature variations and screening currents in a superconductor, respectively. In the two devices called kinetic inductance bolometer and magnetometer, the corresponding changes in resonator parameters were read out to extract the encoded signal. Sensor characterization indicated potential for high sensitivity and low noise. Future applications of the bolometer and the magnetometer include security screening and biomagnetism, respectively. Here, multiplexability in frequency domain facilitates the scale-up to large sensor arrays.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor Degree
    Awarding Institution
    • Aalto University
    • Seppä, Heikki, Supervisor
    • Hassel, Juha, Supervisor
    Award date18 Jun 2015
    Place of PublicationEspoo
    Print ISBNs978-951-38-8311-9
    Electronic ISBNs978-951-38-8312-6
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


    • superconductivity
    • Josephson junction
    • superconducting qubit
    • singlequbit control
    • quantum-limited amplifier
    • kinetic inductance
    • submillimetre-wave detector
    • magnetometer


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