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Section: Research Program

Reservoir (dissipation) engineering and autonomous stabilization of quantum systems

Being at the heart of any QEC protocol, the concept of feedback is central for the protection of quantum information, enabling many-qubit quantum computation or long-distance quantum communication. However, such a closed-loop control which requires a real-time and continuous measurement of the quantum system has been for long considered as counter-intuitive or even impossible. This thought was mainly caused by properties of quantum measurements: any measurement implies an instantaneous strong perturbation to the system's state. The concept of quantum non-demolition (QND) measurement has played a crucial role in understanding and resolving this difficulty   [37]. In the context of cavity quantum electro-dynamics (cavity QED) with Rydberg atoms  [57], a first experiment on continuous QND measurements of the number of microwave photons was performed by the group at Laboratoire Kastler-Brossel (ENS)  [56]. Later on, this ability of performing continuous measurements allowed the same group to realize the first continuous quantum feedback protocol stabilizing highly non-classical states of the microwave field in the cavity, the so-called photon number states [10] (this ground-breaking work was mentioned in the Nobel prize attributed to Serge Haroche). The QUANTIC team contributed to the theoretical work behind this experiment  [47], [29], [91] [1]. These contributions include the development and optimization of the quantum filters taking into account the quantum measurement back-action and various measurement noises and uncertainties, the development of a feedback law based on control Lyapunov techniques, and the compensation of the feedback delay.

In the context of circuit quantum electrodynamics (circuit QED)  [45], recent advances in quantum-limited amplifiers  [81], [95] have opened doors to high-fidelity non-demolition measurements and real-time feedback for superconducting qubits  [58]. This ability to perform high-fidelity non-demolition measurements of a quantum signal has very recently led to quantum feedback experiments with quantum superconducting circuits  [95], [80], [39]. Here again, the QUANTIC team has participated to one of the first experiments in the field where the control objective is to track a dynamical trajectory of a single qubit rather than stabilizing a stationary state. Such quantum trajectory tracking could be further explored to achieve metrological goals such as the stabilization of the amplitude of a microwave drive  [71].

While all this progress has led to a strong optimism about the possibility to perform active protection of quantum information against decoherence, the rather short dynamical time scales of these systems limit, to a great amount, the complexity of the feedback strategies that could be employed. Indeed, in such measurement-based feedback protocols, the time-consuming data acquisition and post-treatment of the output signal leads to an important latency in the feedback procedure.

The reservoir (dissipation) engineering  [78] and the closely related coherent feedback  [69] are considered as alternative approaches circumventing the necessity of a real-time data acquisition, signal processing and feedback calculations. In the context of quantum information, the decoherence, caused by the coupling of a system to uncontrolled external degrees of freedom, is generally considered as the main obstacle to synthesize quantum states and to observe quantum effects. Paradoxically, it is possible to intentionally engineer a particular coupling to a reservoir in the aim of maintaining the coherence of some particular quantum states. In a general viewpoint, these approaches could be understood in the following manner: by coupling the quantum system to be stabilized to a strongly dissipative ancillary quantum system, one evacuates the entropy of the main system through the dissipation of the ancillary one. By building the feedback loop into the Hamiltonian, this type of autonomous feedback obviates the need for a complicated external control loop to correct errors. On the experimental side, such autonomous feedback techniques have been used for qubit reset  [54], single-qubit state stabilization  [73], and the creation  [32] and stabilization  [62], [68], [87] of states of multipartite quantum systems.

Such reservoir engineering techniques could be widely revisited exploring the flexibility in the Hamiltonian design for QSC. We have recently developed theoretical proposals leading to extremely efficient, and simple to implement, stabilization schemes for systems consisting of a single, two or three qubits  [54], [66], [43], [46]. The experimental results based on these protocols have illustrated the efficiency of the approach  [54], [87]. Through these experiments, we exploit the strong dispersive interaction  [85] between superconducting qubits and a single low-Q cavity mode playing the role of a dissipative reservoir. Applying continuous-wave (cw) microwave drives with well-chosen fixed frequencies, amplitudes, and phases, we engineer an effective interaction Hamiltonian which evacuates the entropy of the system interacting with a noisy environment: by driving the qubits and cavity with continuous-wave drives, we induce an autonomous feedback loop which corrects the state of the qubits every time it decays out of the desired target state. The schemes are robust against small variations of the control parameters (drives amplitudes and phase) and require only some basic calibration. Finally, by avoiding resonant interactions between the qubits and the low-Q cavity mode, the qubits remain protected against the Purcell effect, which would reduce the coherence times. We have also investigated both theoretically and experimentally the autonomous stabilization of non-classical states (such as Schrodinger cat states and Fock states) of microwave field confined in a high-Q cavity mode  [83], [59][7], [6].