Abstract
The parametric phaselocked oscillator (PPLO) is a class of frequencyconversion device, originally based on a nonlinear element such as a ferrite ring, that served as a fundamental logic element for digital computers more than 50 years ago. Although it has long since been overtaken by the transistor, there have been numerous efforts more recently to realize PPLOs in different physical systems such as optical photons, trapped atoms, and electromechanical resonators. This renewed interest is based not only on the fundamental physics of nonlinear systems, but also on the realization of new, highperformance computing devices with unprecedented capabilities. Here we realize a PPLO with Josephsonjunction circuitry and operate it as a sensitive phase detector. Using a PPLO, we demonstrate the demodulation of a weak binary phaseshift keying microwave signal of the order of a femtowatt. We apply PPLO to dispersive readout of a superconducting qubit, and achieved highfidelity, singleshot and nondestructive readout with Rabioscillation contrast exceeding 90%.
Introduction
The parametric phaselocked oscillator (PPLO)^{1}, also known as a parametron^{2}, is a resonant circuit in which one of the reactances is periodically modulated. It can detect, amplify, and store binary digital signals in the form of two distinct phases of selfoscillation. Indeed, digital computers using PPLOs based on a magnetic ferrite ring or a varactor diode as its fundamental logic element were successfully operated in 1950s and 1960s^{2}. More recently, basic bit operations have been demonstrated in an electromechanical resonator^{3}, and an Ising machine based on optical PPLOs has been proposed^{4}. PPLOs also offer an interesting system to study fundamental physics of nonlinear oscillators^{5}. Here using a PPLO realized with Josephsonjunction circuitry, we demonstrate the demodulation of a microwave signal digitally modulated by binary phaseshift keying (BPSK). Moreover, we apply this demodulation capability to the dispersive readout of a superconducting qubit. This readout scheme enables a fast and latchingtype readout, yet requires only a small number of readout photons in the resonator to which the qubit is coupled, thus featuring the combined advantages of several disparate schemes^{6,7}. We have achieved highfidelity, singleshot and nondestructive qubit readout with Rabioscillation contrast exceeding 90%, limited primarily by the qubit’s energy relaxation.
Results
PPLO with Josephsonjunction circuitry
Our PPLO is implemented by a superconducting coplanar waveguide (CPW) resonator defined by a coupling capacitor and a dcSQUID (superconducting quantum interference device) termination (Fig. 1a; see Supplementary Fig. 1 and Supplementary Note 1 for the details of the device). The dcSQUID, working as a controllable inductor, makes the resonant frequency of the resonator dependent on an external magnetic flux through the SQUID loop Φ_{sq} (ref. 8). The application of a microwave field at a frequency ω_{p} and a power P_{p} to the pump line, which is inductively coupled to the SQUID loop, modulates the resonant frequency around its static value. This device has previously been operated as a Jopsehson parametric amplifier^{9,10}. The signal at entering the resonator obtains a parametric gain produced by the pump at and is reflected back along the signal line. This device also works as a parametric oscillator when it is operated at P_{p} above the threshold P_{p0} determined by the photon decay rate of the resonator^{11,12}. Namely, it generates an output microwave field at ω_{p}/2 even without any signal injection. The output can be one of the two degenerate oscillatory states (0π and 1π states) that differ solely by a relative phase shift π.
When an additional signal at ~ω_{p}/2 with a power , which we call the locking signal (LS), is injected into the parametric oscillator, the degeneracy of the two oscillatory states is lifted^{13}. Such degeneracy lifting has been demonstrated in other physical systems such as magnetooptically trapped cold atoms^{14} and electromechanical systems^{15}. To understand the dynamics, we consider the Hamiltonian of the PPLO including a signal port for the LS and a fictitious loss port for internal loss of the resonator, namely,
where γ represents the nonlinearity of the Josephson junction (JJ), a is the annihilation operator for the resonator, b_{k} (c_{k}) is the annihilation operator for the photon in the signal (loss) port with a wave number k and a velocity υ_{b} (υ_{c}), κ_{1} (κ_{2}) represents the coupling strength between the resonator and the signal (loss) port and κ=κ_{1}+κ_{2}. The equations of motion for the classical resonator field in a frame rotating at are obtained from the Hamiltonian by setting and are given by (ref. 16; also see Supplementary Note 2 for derivation)
where
and and θ_{s} are the amplitude and phase of the LS, respectively. In the absence of the first term (oscillator’s friction term) on the righthand side, equations (2) and (3) are in the form of Hamilton’s equations of motion with the Hamiltonian g(q_{x}, q_{y}), whose minima correspond to 0π and 1π states^{16}. As shown in Fig. 1b, g(q_{x}, 0) is symmetric with respect to q_{x} when there is no LS (E_{s}=0), and 0π and 1π states are degenerate. When we apply LS, it gives a tilt to the double well, which is proportional to E_{s} sin θ_{s} (Fig. 1b,c). This lifts the degeneracy, and the PPLO, initially at q_{x}, q_{y}~0, preferably evolves into one of the two states. This is how the amplitude and the phase of LS control the output state of the PPLO.
Output of PPLO
Now we show the experimental results. Figure 2a shows the output power of the PPLO operated at (solid blue circles) as a function of P_{p} in the absence of LS injection. For each P_{p}, the microwave field is continuously applied to the pump port and the output signal at ω_{p}/2 is measured by a spectrum analyser. Note that power levels stated in this work are referred to the corresponding ports on the chip. The steep increase of the output power at P_{p}~−65 dBm indicates the onset of the parametric oscillation. This is further confirmed by detecting the response to the pulsed pump. Figure 2b shows the histogram of the demodulated amplitude and phase of the output signal plotted in the quadrature (IQ) plane. For each application of the pump pulse with an amplitude of P_{p}=−62 dBm, we recorded the output pulse and extracted its amplitude and phase by averaging for 100 ns. The two distribution peaks correspond to 0π and 1π states. They have equal amplitude but different phases shifted by π, and are observed with equal probabilities as expected.
Next we perform a similar measurement, but include LS injection. Figure 2c shows the histogram of the demodulated phase of the output signal as a function of the LS phase. While continuously injecting LS with a phase θ_{s} and a power , we applied a pulsed pump with the same duration and the amplitude as in Fig. 2b, and extracted the phase of the output signal. As exemplified by the crosssection along the dashed line, the probabilities of obtaining the two states are no longer equal and depend on θ_{s}. In Fig. 2d, we plot the probability of 0π state as a function of θ_{s} for different s. The probability shows sinusoidal dependence when is small. As we increase , the modulation amplitude (ΔP_{0π}) also increases and finally reaches unity. We define (1−ΔP_{0π})/2 as a nonlocking error and plot it as a function of in Fig. 2e using blue circles. When is larger than ~−125 dBm (corresponding to N^{PO} of 0.9), the nonlocking error becomes negligible. We also simulated the nonlocking error by solving a master equation^{17} based on the Hamiltonian (equation (1)) and plot it by red curve (for details, see Supplementary Note 2 and Supplementary Figs 2 and 3). The only assumption here is the pump threshold P_{p0}, which is set to be −64.0 dBm. The agreement between the theory and the experiment is fairly good.
Demodulation of BPSK signal
The above result indicates the PPLO is a phase detector sensitive to very small microwave powers of the order of a femtowatt. To demonstrate this, we generate a signal digitally modulated by BPSK, a scheme commonly used in modern telecommunications^{18}, and demodulate it by using a PPLO. Figure 3a shows the sequence of the experiment. The generated signal has a fixed carrier frequency of 10.503 GHz, fixed power of −125 dBm and a phase that is digitally modulated by π every 500 ns. This means that the signal carries alternating binary bits with a baseband frequency of 2 MHz. Synchronously, we apply pump pulses with the duration of 300 ns and the amplitude of −62 dBm. Figure 3b shows the superposed time traces of the PPLO output. It shows successful demodulation of the input signal except rare errors as exemplified in the figure. We sent a total of 2.4 × 10^{4} bits and detected four errors, corresponding to the error rate of 1.7 × 10^{−4}. As studied in the parametron for its clock speed^{19}, the response time of a PPLO decreases rapidly as we increase P_{p} and . In the present study, we could make it comparable to the cavity decay time (κ/2)^{−1} (see Supplementary Fig. 4). This time, together with the integration time to extract the output phase (100 ns in the present study), determines the upper limit for the baseband frequency of the BPSK signal to be demodulated, namely, the bandwidth of the PPLO as a phase detector.
Qubit readout using PPLO
Now we apply this phase discrimination capability to the dispersive readout of a qubit. Figure 4a shows the measurement setup. A chip containing a 3JJ superconducting flux qubit capacitively coupled to a CPW resonator (readout resonator) is connected to the PPLO via circulators. The flux qubit is biased at Φ_{q}=0.5Φ_{0}, where the qubit transition frequency from 0› to 1› states is 5.510 GHz. Figure 4b shows the phase rotation of the reflection coefficient around the resonant frequency of the readout resonator () when the qubit is in 0› (blue) and 1› (green). The shift between the two curves is due to the dispersive coupling between the qubit and the readout resonator^{20}. We set ω_{s} to be 10.193 GHz, such that the qubit states are mapped onto two phases of the reflected microwave differing by π.
We discriminate the two states by using the PPLO and the pulse sequence shown in Fig. 4a. We set , ω_{p}=2ω_{s} (corresponding to open red squares in Fig. 2a) and P_{p}=−65 dBm. Figure 4c shows the probability of detecting the 0π state as a function of the phase of the readout microwave pulse θ_{s} (similar to Fig. 2d) with the qubit control π pulse off (blue) and on (green). The power of the readout microwave field at the input of the readout resonator is −120 dBm, which corresponds to the mean photon number in the readout resonator . Reflecting the πphase difference of the reflected microwave field, the two curves are out of phase and their difference corresponds to the fidelity of the qubit readout, which is maximized at −2.0 and 1.2 rad to be 89%.
We further maximized the fidelity by tuning t_{p} and adding a short spike in the beginning of the readout pulse, and measured Rabi oscillations as shown in Fig. 4d, where the length t_{c} and the amplitude of the qubit control pulse are swept. Figure 4e shows the Rabioscillation measurement along the dashed line in Fig. 4d. The contrast of the Rabi oscillations is 90.7%. We attribute the sources of the error to incomplete initialization of the qubit by 2.6% and to qubit energy relaxation (including the gate error of the π pulse), which adds 6.7%. Note that the nonzero minimum of the blue curve in Fig. 4c is due to incomplete initialization of the qubit and not the nonlocking error. The nonlocking error is confirmed to be negligible for both states of the qubit (see Supplementary Note 1 and Supplementary Figs 5 and 6 for the details).
Discussion
As stated above, N^{r} of 5.5 is large enough to make the nonlocking error of PPLO negligible. It is at the same time small enough for the qubit to avoid readout backaction. By sweeping t_{p}, we can measure T_{1} of the qubit, while populating photons in the readout resonator. It is measured to be 690 ns (see Supplementary Fig. 7), which agrees with T_{1} obtained from the independent ensembleaveraged measurement using a standard pulse sequence, namely, a π pulse followed by delayed readout. This indicates the nondestructive character of the present readout scheme.
Another characteristic of the present readout scheme is its latching property. Once the qubit state is mapped to the oscillator state of PPLO, the information can be maintained, regardless of a subsequent qubit state transition, as long as the pump is turned on. We demonstrate this in Fig. 4f, in which the readout fidelity is plotted as a function of t_{d}. Even at t_{d}=6 μs, at which the qubit has totally decayed, we do not lose readout fidelity.
The present scheme enables fast, latchingtype and singleshot readout of the qubit. In this sense, it is similar to schemes using a Josephson bifurcation amplifier^{6}, Josephsonchirped amplifier^{21} and perioddoubling bifurcation^{22}, where the qubit is directly coupled to a nonlinear resonator. However, in the present scheme, the mean photon number in the resonator to which the qubit is coupled can be kept small (of order unity) regardless of the result of the readout. In this sense, it is similar to schemes where a qubit is coupled to a linear resonator, followed by an ultralownoise amplifier such as Jopsehson parametric amplifier to achieve singleshot readout^{10}. Thus, the present scheme has combined advantages of both linear and nonlinear resonators and can be useful in quantum errorcorrection protocols such as the surface code^{23}.
Additional information
How to cite this article: Lin, Z. R. et al. Josephson parametric phaselocked oscillator and its application to dispersive readout of superconducting qubits. Nat. Commun. 5:4480 doi: 10.1038/ncomms5480 (2014).
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Acknowledgements
The authors thank Y. Yamamoto, S. Utsunomiya, T. Kato, D. Vion and I. Mahboob for fruitful discussions. The authors are grateful to V. Bolkhovsky and G. Fitch for assistance with the device fabrication at MITLL. This work was partly supported by the Funding Program for WorldLeading Innovative R&D on Science and Technology (FIRST), Project for Developing Innovation Systems of MEXT, MEXT KAKENHI (grant nos. 21102002 and 25400417), SCOPE (111507004), and National Institute of Information and Communications Technology.
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T.Y. and Z.R.L. conceived the experiment and wrote the manuscript. Z.R.L. performed the measurement and analysed the data. K.I. fabricated the qubit device and helped with the measurement and analysis. T.Y. designed PPLO, which was fabricated at the group of W.D.O. K.K. and T.Y. developed the theory and performed the numerical simulations. All authors contributed to the discussion of the results and helped in editing the manuscript.
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Supplementary Figures 17, Supplementary Notes 12 and Supplementary References (PDF 607 kb)
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Lin, Z., Inomata, K., Koshino, K. et al. Josephson parametric phaselocked oscillator and its application to dispersive readout of superconducting qubits. Nat Commun 5, 4480 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms5480
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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms5480
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