Spin qubit control and readout using cryogenic electronics

Otten, René; Bluhm, Jörg (Thesis advisor); Charbon, Edoardo (Thesis advisor)

Aachen : RWTH Aachen University (2023)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

Dissertation, RWTH Aachen University, 2023


Recent progress in the field of quantum computation has further substantiated the claim of a computational advantage for quantum computers and recent developments in multiple platforms such as superconducting qubits, ion traps, optical systems, and neutral atoms create hope that large scale quantum computers are within reach. In the meantime, spin qubits in semiconductors have achieved error rates for all aspects of their operation beyond the error correction threshold, and now face the challenge of scaling to larger system sizes, while maintaining their "semiconductor" scaling advantage. In this spirit multiple ideas for architectures have emerged that integrate the quantum layer with local control electronics creating a QPU with high interconnect density between qubits and control while maintaining a sparse amount of connection in and out of the cryostat. In this thesis, I demonstrate multiple steps towards this vision: dc-bias voltage generation and readout amplification. I show that the operation of traditional CMOS electronics at mK temperatures on the mixing chamber is feasible and use a custom ultra-low power DAC to bias electrodes of a GaAs qubit chip. We achieve an integrated-circuit power consumption of 30 µW, of which 13 µW can be attributed to the DAC, while generating 8 output voltages with a refresh rate of 4 kHz. We observe no leakage while storing the voltage on sample-and-hold capacitors on this timescale. Voltage drift due to leakage is quantified to be 125 µV/s, well below room temperature values and likely limited by the Schottky contacts on the qubit chip. Nevertheless, this highlights that custom IC designs for ultra-low temperatures are a valuable tool for achieving ultra-low power, scalable control electronics. We manage to maintain qubit and IC temperatures below 1 K with thermal gradients at material interfaces presenting the main obstacle for reaching lower temperatures. This allows us to measure a single electron transistor only with bias voltages generated by our CryoDAC. Extrapolating from our results, we demonstrate that bias voltage generation with a power consumption of ~4 nW/ch is feasible paving the way for integrated generation on up to 107 voltages within the cooling power budget available in a cryostat optimized for integrated control electronics. As a second step towards integrating readout and control, we investigate heterojunction-bipolar transistors as cryogenic amplifiers in direct proximity to a qubit chip. By biasing the transistor away from its nominal operating point near the saturation regime, we maintain gain and transconduction, 200 and gm = 0.1 mS @ Ib = 2 nA, away from the forward-active regime, while lowering the power consumption significantly by a factor of 8. I investigate biasing options for these transistors and investigate their noise performance, showing 1/f noise all the way to the noise floor of our measurement setup. I demonstrate functional amplifier behavior at power consumption as low as 50 nW, paving the way for integrated, close-to-qubit readout readout amplification for large qubit numbers. To underline the usefulness for qubit operation, I also show charge detection and fast recording of charge stability diagrams using a charge sensor amplified by the HBT. To complement these advancements, I summarize automated tuning methods we developed across multiple experiments, cryostats and cooldowns. I show that we are able to reliably tune devices to the single electron regime automatically with relatively simple methods across different readout amplification techniques. We use the data gathered in these experiments to train a convolutional neural network to automatically classify charge stability diagrams by the number of observed quantum dots with an accuracy of 94%, enabling more sophisticated automated tuning algorithms in the future. I complement the previous results by summarizing the state-of-the-art in flip-chip bonding and 3D integration technologies and putting the locally available processes into this context. Overall, my thesis provides advances, outlines ways forward, and provides guidance on many complementing aspects of scaling quantum computing systems to the qubit numbers needed for fully error-corrected systems. This includes signal generation and control, readout, and cryogenic amplification, automated-tuning and calibration, as well as heterogeneous integration and cryostat design. By doing so I substantiate the dream of a useful quantum computing system in the (not so distant) future.


  • Department of Physics [130000]
  • Chair of Experimental Physics and Institute of Physics II [132210]