Experimental realization of non-Abelian non-adiabatic geometric gates

Nature. 2013 Apr 25;496(7446):482-5. doi: 10.1038/nature12010. Epub 2013 Apr 17.


The geometric aspects of quantum mechanics are emphasized most prominently by the concept of geometric phases, which are acquired whenever a quantum system evolves along a path in Hilbert space, that is, the space of quantum states of the system. The geometric phase is determined only by the shape of this path and is, in its simplest form, a real number. However, if the system has degenerate energy levels, then matrix-valued geometric state transformations, known as non-Abelian holonomies--the effect of which depends on the order of two consecutive paths--can be obtained. They are important, for example, for the creation of synthetic gauge fields in cold atomic gases or the description of non-Abelian anyon statistics. Moreover, there are proposals to exploit non-Abelian holonomic gates for the purposes of noise-resilient quantum computation. In contrast to Abelian geometric operations, non-Abelian ones have been observed only in nuclear quadrupole resonance experiments with a large number of spins, and without full characterization of the geometric process and its non-commutative nature. Here we realize non-Abelian non-adiabatic holonomic quantum operations on a single, superconducting, artificial three-level atom by applying a well-controlled, two-tone microwave drive. Using quantum process tomography, we determine fidelities of the resulting non-commuting gates that exceed 95 per cent. We show that two different quantum gates, originating from two distinct paths in Hilbert space, yield non-equivalent transformations when applied in different orders. This provides evidence for the non-Abelian character of the implemented holonomic quantum operations. In combination with a non-trivial two-quantum-bit gate, our method suggests a way to universal holonomic quantum computing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't