Measuring and Suppressing Quantum State Leakage in a Superconducting Qubit

Phys Rev Lett. 2016 Jan 15;116(2):020501. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.020501. Epub 2016 Jan 13.


Leakage errors occur when a quantum system leaves the two-level qubit subspace. Reducing these errors is critically important for quantum error correction to be viable. To quantify leakage errors, we use randomized benchmarking in conjunction with measurement of the leakage population. We characterize single qubit gates in a superconducting qubit, and by refining our use of derivative reduction by adiabatic gate pulse shaping along with detuning of the pulses, we obtain gate errors consistently below 10^{-3} and leakage rates at the 10^{-5} level. With the control optimized, we find that a significant portion of the remaining leakage is due to incoherent heating of the qubit.