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Title:Sources of noise in niobium-based superconducting quantum circuits
Author(s):Dove, Allison
Director of Research:Eckstein, James N.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Mason, Nadya
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Eckstein, James N.; Leggett, Anthony; Yang, Liang
Department / Program:Physics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
quantum computing
Superconducting QUantum Interference Devices (SQUIDs)
Josephson junction
quantum information
molecular beam epitaxy (MBE)
flux qubit
quantum noise
Abstract:Quantum computation is a fascinating field that combines novel physics with improvements in computation times and has been rapidly growing in the past few years. Using superconductors to form the qubits has the potential for large-scale computing, if the decoherence inherent in these devices can be understood and reduced. Two-level fluctuators due to defects in the materials are thought to cause changes to the Josephson critical current or the flux through the superconducting loop of a flux qubit, which leads to decoherence in the qubit. Alternatively, defects in the crystal lattice give rise to electron localization which in turn traps spins with random orientations at the substrate/metal interface, again producing decoherence. My work studied the proposed noise mechanisms by using Molecular Beam Epitaxy to fabricate single-crystal niobium-based Josephson junctions. Using RHEED, AFM, and TEM/STEM, I studied the epitaxy of the niobium film at the substrate interface to reduce noise due to crystal defects. I then measured flux noise in these films; the noise in the epitaxial films is lower than the comparative polycrystalline films. Further measurements using ex-situ Josephson junctions and epitaxial niobium loops resulted in the lowest reported flux noise measurements to date. Additionally, EELS measurements made in the course of the STEM analysis of the crystal structure reveal oxygen depletion from the substrate at elevated growth temperatures. This depletion leads to oxygen vacancies in the aluminum oxide substrate, which can in turn lead to charge traps at the substrate/metal interface and hence to decoherence in the qubit. Critical current noise was investigated by changing the oxidation dose of the alumina barrier in more than 50 separate Josephson junctions. Films which were grown with lower oxidation doses have a non-ideal critical current temperature dependence as well as higher critical current noise values, suggesting that insufficient oxygen is being incorporated into these junctions. Finally, I studied the effect of surface cleaning after fabrication for resonators and transmons. Microscopy shows that an oxygen ash and BOE dip together removes all photoresist residue from the chip. Internal-Q measurements do not show a marked improvement due to this cleaning, but the coherence times do improve upon the cleaning step.
Issue Date:2015-01-21
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Allison Dove
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-01-21
Date Deposited:2014-12

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