Generation and Efficient Measurement of Single Photons Using Superconducting Circuits


In this thesis, I demonstrate and evaluate an on-demand source of single propagating microwaves photons. Working in the context of a quantum network, nodes are connected via propagating, nonclassical states of the electromagnetic field. As such, preparing and detecting propagating quantum states is an essential task. I work with one particular node consisting of a microfabricated, effective two level system coupled to a microwave resonator and study its ability to produce propagating nonclassical states, such as single photon states. In principle, states generated by this node could be sent to other such nodes. However, I send them into a Josephson parametric amplifier (JPA) to characterize the source.

In particular, I discuss how to design and couple the two components that form my source: a fixed frequency transmon qubit and a 3D superconducting waveguide cavity. I demonstrate the ability to control of the dynamics of this combined system and implement a single photon generation protocol, which utilizes a single microwave control field that is far detuned from the photon emission frequency. To characterize the generation, I perform tomography on the propagating photon state to determine its density matrix ρ. I perform repeated JPA-backed, linear measurements of the propagating state. Based on the histograms of my measurements, I infer a maximum single photon component ρ11 = 0.36 ± 0.01. I characterize the imperfections of the photon generation and detection, including detection inefficiency and measurement backaction. I find that within uncertainty my measurements match my expectation.


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Academic Department
Department of Physics
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University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO
JILA PI Advisors
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