Decoherence Dynamics of Complex Photon States in a Superconducting Circuit

H. Wang, M. Hofheinz, M. Ansmann, R. C. Bialczak, Erik Lucero, M. Neeley, A. D. O’Connell, D. Sank, M. Weides, J. Wenner, A. N. Cleland, and John M. Martinis
Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 200404 – Published 13 November 2009
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Quantum states inevitably decay with time into a probabilistic mixture of classical states due to their interaction with the environment and measurement instrumentation. We present the first measurement of the decoherence dynamics of complex photon states in a condensed-matter system. By controllably preparing a number of distinct quantum-superposed photon states in a superconducting microwave resonator, we show that the subsequent decay dynamics can be quantitatively described by taking into account only two distinct decay channels: energy relaxation and pure dephasing. Our ability to prepare specific initial quantum states allows us to measure the evolution of specific elements in the quantum density matrix in a very detailed manner that can be compared with theory.

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  • Received 29 July 2009


©2009 American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

H. Wang, M. Hofheinz, M. Ansmann, R. C. Bialczak, Erik Lucero, M. Neeley, A. D. O’Connell, D. Sank, M. Weides, J. Wenner, A. N. Cleland*, and John M. Martinis

  • Department of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106, USA

  • *

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Vol. 103, Iss. 20 — 13 November 2009

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This collection marks the 30th anniversary of the discovery of high-temperature superconductors. The papers selected highlight some of the advances that have been made to date, both in understanding why these compounds behave in the way they do, and in utilizing them in applications. The papers included in the collection have been made free to read.

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