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Guilliam Butseraen

Graphene-based superconducting quantum circuits: The Josephson parametric amplifier

Published on 8 November 2022
Thesis presented November 08, 2022

With a large portfolio of elemental quantum components, superconducting quantum circuits have contributed to dramatic advances in microwave quantum optics. Of these elements, quantum-limited parametric amplifiers have proven to be essential for low noise readout of quantum systems whose energy range is intrinsically low (tens of µeV). They are also used to generate non classical states of light that can be a resource for quantum enhanced detection. Superconducting parametric amplifiers, like quantum bits, typically utilize a Josephson junction as a source of magnetically tunable and dissipation-free nonlinearity. The magnetic control is not an industry standard for devices and starts already to be an issue in large scale circuits. In recent years, efforts have been made to introduce semiconductor weak links as electrically tunable nonlinear elements, with demonstrations of microwave resonators and quantum bits using semiconductor nanowires, a two dimensional electron gas, carbon nanotubes and graphene. However, given the challenge of balancing nonlinearity, dissipation, participation, and energy scale, parametric amplifiers have not yet been implemented with a semiconductor weak link. The work presented in this PhD thesis demonstrates the design, fabrication and performances of a parametric amplifier leveraging a graphene Josephson junction.
The graphene is encapsulated in between hBN flakes in order to improve its quality. Using such high quality junctions, we demonstrate amplification with 20 dB gain which is the milestone for overcoming noise of the classical amplifiers in the rest of the amplification chain. The Josephson parametric amplifier being based on a resonant structure (around 6 GHz) suffers from the gain bandwidth product limiting the amplification to a few MegaHertz frequency range. The use of a side gate to electrically tune the graphene gives control of the Josephson junction inductance and thus the resonant frequency of the amplifier. We demonstrate a near 1 GHz tunability of the amplification frequency with the use of a side gate which is as good as the tunability offered by using a magnetic flux on a SQUID for similar amplifier designs. Moreover, graphene has shown to exhibit nonlinear loss under a strong microwave irradiation arising because of dynamics in the Andreev states. Dissipation is known to add intrinsic noise on quantum amplifiers and could be a problem for quantum limited parametric amplification. We demonstrate that despite the presence of nonlinear loss, graphene based Josephson parametric amplifiers can reach near quantum limited amplification. A two photon loss model was used to describe the behaviour of the device but we show that a more complex model is required in order to take into account the nonlinear dissipation and the non-sinusoidal current phase relation. We also studied the dynamic range and showed that the graphene based Josephson parametric amplifier can reach a 1 dB compression point of -123 dBm which is as good as single tunnel junctions based parametric amplifiers. Our results expand the toolset for electrically tunable superconducting quantum circuits and offer new opportunities for the development of quantum technologies such as quantum computing, quantum sensing and fundamental science.

Parametric amplification, graphene, CQED