Thermal and residual excited-state population in a 3D transmon qubit
June 19, 2015
Remarkable advancements in coherence and control fidelity have been achieved in recent years with cryogenic solid-state qubits. Nonetheless, thermalizing such devices to their milliKelvin environments has remained a long-standing fundamental and technical challenge. In this context, we present a systematic study of the first-excited-state population in a 3D transmon superconducting qubit mounted in a dilution refrigerator with a variable temperature. Using a modified version of the protocol developed by Geerlings et al., we observe the excited-state population to be consistent with a Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, i.e., a qubit in thermal equilibrium with the refrigerator, over the temperature range 35-150 mK. Below 35 mK, the excited-state population saturates at approximately 0.1%. We verified this result using a flux qubit with ten times stronger coupling to its readout resonator. We conclude that these qubits have effective temperature Teff ơ 35 mK. Assuming Teff is due solely to hot quasiparticles, the inferred qubit lifetime is 108 microns and in plausible agreement with the measured 80 microns.