Quantum Coherence in the Single Cooper Pair Box

Sammanfattning: This thesis presents measurements of quantum coherence in a single Cooper pair box, where quantum oscillations of charge between a reservoir and a small superconducting island have been observed.

The single Cooper pair box (SCB) consists of a small metallic island which is connected to a reservoir via a tunnel junction. In the superconducting state, Cooper pairs are free to tunnel to and from the island, whose potential can be controlled by a gate voltage. A graded gap method was used to prevent quasiparticles from tunneling onto the island. For this purpose, a magnetic field suppressed the superconducting gap in the SCB leads more than in the island. This created an additional energy barrier for quasiparticles to tunnel to the island, making the gate voltage modulation periodic in Cooper pair charge.

For a limited range of gate voltage, the SCB was found to behave as a model two-level quantum mechanical system. A non-adiabatic change in the induced island charge was used to bring two charge states into resonance. The resulting time evolution showed clear charge oscillations between the ground and excited state, with a frequency given by the energy level separation divided by Planck's constant. These oscillations had a longest coherence time of T2=9 ns at a point where the pure charge states are degenerate. The coherence time at this point was found to be limited by the relaxation rate, ?1. Away from this point, the coherence time was limited by the dephasing rate, ??. Away from the charge degeneracy, the dependence of T2 on gate charge suggested that low frequency fluctuators were the main source of dephasing.

The charge of the Cooper pair box was measured by coupling the SCB capacitively to a radio frequency single electron transistor (RF-SET). The RF-SET was used as an electrometer by measuring the amount of reflection from a resonant microwave circuit in which a single electron transistor (SET) was embedded. A best charge sensitivity of 2.3·10-6 e/sqrt(Hz) and a 7 MHz bandwidth was reached in an improved setup.

Another part of this thesis concerns an investigation of electrical filters for use in single electronics experiments. The characteristics of seven different types of cryogenic filters were evaluated.

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