Quantum Coherence of the Fluxonium Superconducting Artificial Atom
Artificial atoms built from superconducting tunnel junctions illustrate the engineering of a controllable electrodynamic quantum system, starting from basic elements. Can circuit architecture mitigate or even eliminate coherence limitations due to defects in the basic electrical constituents? This central question will be discussed from the perspective of recent experimental results of our group, obtained on the fluxonium, a novel superconducting quantum circuit. It consists of a Cooper-pair box junction which is shunted by a long array of larger junctions. Immunity to offset charge noise and only a weak sensitivity to flux noise is observed for the qubit transition. Significant improvement of the relaxation time has been obtained, when one compares with qubits of the same family. Finally, fluxonium displays the type of 3-level-atom physics which should prove useful for continuous, high-fidelity monitoring of a state.