Date of Award

December 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Britton L. Plourde

Second Advisor

Jae C. Oh


qubits, sfq, superconducting

Subject Categories

Physical Sciences and Mathematics


In the quest to build a fault-tolerant quantum computer, superconducting circuits based on Josephson junctions have emerged as a leading architecture. Coherence times have increased significantly over the last two decades, and processors with ∼ 50 qubits have been experimentally demonstrated. These systems traditionally utilize microwave frequency control signals, and heterodyne based detection schemes for measurement. Both of these techniques rely heavily on room temperature microwave generators, high-bandwidth lines from room temperature to millikelvin temperatures, and bulky non-reciprocal elements such as cryogenic microwave isolators. Reliance on these elements makes it impractical to scale existing devices up a single order of magnitude, let alone the 5-6 orders of magnitude needed for performing fault-tolerant quantum algorithms. Here, I present results that suggesting superconducting digital logic, namely Single Flux Quantum (SFQ) logic, can replace analog control and measurement techniques, avoiding the significant overhead involved. I describe a scheme for measuring qubits with a device known as a Josephson Photomultiplier (JPM), which crucially stores the result of a qubit measurement in a classical circulating supercurrent within the device and allows for integration with SFQ detection circuitry. This technique is experimentally demonstrated, with single-shot measurement fidelity of 92%. Two methods for accessing this measurement result are presented, one utilizing ballistic fluxons, and another utilizing flux comparison. Initial experimental results of the latter are presented. In addition, I describe a scheme for controlling qubits with sequences of digital SFQ pulses. This method is then used to control a qubit without a microwave signal generator, with results of an average single-qubit gate fidelity of around 95%. When combined, these techniques form a nearly fully digital interface to superconducting qubits, which could allow these systems to scale much more easily.


Open Access