Engineering superconducting qubits : towards a quantum machine

Sammanfattning: A quantum computer is an information processing machine, much like an ordinary classical computer, but its function is based on quantum mechanical principles. To be able to construct such a machine would be a fantastic accomplishment---to have total control over a quantum system is a dream for both physicists and science-fiction enthusiasts. The basic information unit in a quantum computer is the quantum bit, or qubit for short. A quantum computer consists of many coupled qubits. To get a single qubit to work properly, would be a major step towards building this machine.Here we study two different qubit ideas. The central element in both setups is the superconducting tunnel junction---the Josephson junction. By connecting the Josephson junctions to standard electronics in a clever way, a qubit can be realised. With these constructions it is in principle very easy to manipulate and read out the quantum probabilities, by varying voltages and currents in time. However, this ease of manipulation has a cost: strong interactions with uncontrolled degrees of freedom of the environment transfer information from the qubit. For superconducting qubits this decoherence is typically very fast.There are ways to deal with the decoherence. One way is to tune the circuit parameters so that the decoherence becomes minimal. Another way is to engineer the qubits so fast so that the effect of decoherence becomes small. In this thesis, we will apply both these strategies. Specifically, the measurement speed of the second qubit we study, turns out to be very sensitive to the topology of the phase space of the detector variables.