Deterministically Encoding Quantum Information Using 100-Photon Schrödinger Cat States

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Science  01 Nov 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6158, pp. 607-610
DOI: 10.1126/science.1243289

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Coherently Controlling Large Cats

The control and manipulation of quantum information based on superconducting circuits is an attractive route because of the possibility of scale-up. Vlastakis et al. (p. 607, published online 26 September; see the Perspective by Leek) were able to generate and control quantum entanglement between a superconducting qubit and hundreds of photons stored in a cavity resonator by using deterministic methods for on-demand generation of large Schrödinger cat states in a microwave cavity with arbitrary size and phase. The ability to map the state of a qubit to large Schrödinger cat states should provide a robust quantum resource in future quantum-based technologies.


In contrast to a single quantum bit, an oscillator can store multiple excitations and coherences provided one has the ability to generate and manipulate complex multiphoton states. We demonstrate multiphoton control by using a superconducting transmon qubit coupled to a waveguide cavity resonator with a highly ideal off-resonant coupling. This dispersive interaction is much greater than decoherence rates and higher-order nonlinearities to allow simultaneous manipulation of hundreds of photons. With a tool set of conditional qubit-photon logic, we mapped an arbitrary qubit state to a superposition of coherent states, known as a “cat state.” We created cat states as large as 111 photons and extended this protocol to create superpositions of up to four coherent states. This control creates a powerful interface between discrete and continuous variable quantum computation and could enable applications in metrology and quantum information processing.

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