Nonlinear couplings for quantum control of superconducting qubits and electrical/mechanical resonators

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This thesis explores nonlinear couplings in superconducting circuits with the purpose of achieving quantum control over the elementary excitations of light and motion. It consists mainly of three research themes. The first theme concerns the experimental realisation of a tuneable coupling scheme, giving rise to different interactions with adjustable ratios, between two transmon qubits. The tuneable capabilities of the device together with its versatile geometry and high coherence make it an interesting building block for analog quantum simulators of certain classes of complex problems. The second theme concerns two theoretical proposals for controlling mechanical resonators using transmon qubits. In the first part we analyse an electromechanical circuit architecture giving rise to tuneable three-body interactions between two qubits and a mechanical beam. Several protocols are performed numerically demonstrating ground-state cooling and the creation of mechanical quantum states, such as single-phonon and multi-phonon superposition states as well as qubit-phonon entanglement. Additionally, schemes for generating arbitrary quantum states are explored. The second part relies on the same concept for coupling a mechanical resonator to a transmon qubit and explores the qubit-resonator system in the ultrastrong coupling regime, where the optomechanical coupling approaches or even exceeds the mechanical frequency. We find that for certain coupling strengths ground-state cooling is possible and devise a protocol for generating macroscopic quantum superposition states, known as “Shrödinger cats”, on the mechanical resonator. Finally, the third research theme presented in the thesis concerns an experiment where a cold superconducting qubit is employed to readout and control a thermally populated radio-frequency resonator coupled via a strong dispersive coupling. By means of reservoir engineering, ground-state cooling as well as stabilisation of Fock states in the resonator are demonstrated reaching a new operating regime for circuit quantum electrodynamics.