Thermal and residual excited-state population in a 3D transmon qubit
June 19, 2015
Phys. Rev. Lett., Vol. 114, No. 24, 19 June 2015, 240501.
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.