Physics & Astronomy ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-9-2019


Semiconducting qubits are a promising platform for quantum computers. In particular, silicon spin qubits have made a number of advancements recently including long coherence times, high-fidelity single-qubit gates, two-qubit gates, and high-fidelity readout. However, all operations likely require improvement in fidelity and speed, if possible, to realize a quantum computer.

Readout fidelity and speed, in general, are limited by circuit challenges centered on extracting low signal from a device in a dilution refrigerator connected to room temperature amplifiers by long coaxial cables with relatively high capacitance. Readout fidelity specifically is limited by the time it takes to reliably distinguish qubit states relative to the characteristic decay time of the excited state, T1. This dissertation explores the use of heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) circuits to amplify the readout signal of silicon spin qubits at cryogenic temperatures. The cryogenic amplification approach has numerous advantages including low implementation overhead, low power relative to the available cooling power, and high signal gain at the mixing chamber stage leading to around a factor of ten speedup in readout time for a similar signal-to-noise ratio. The faster readout time generally increases fidelity, since it is much faster than the T1 time.

Two HBT amplification circuits have been designed and characterized. One design is a low-power, base-current biased configuration with non-linear gain (CB-HBT), and the second is a linear-gain, AC-coupled configuration (AC-HBT). They can operate at powers of 1 and 10 μW, respectfully, and not significantly heat electrons. The noise spectral density referred to the input for both circuits is around 15 to 30 fA/√Hz, which is low compared to previous cases such as the dual-stage, AC-coupled HEMT circuit at ~ 70 fA/√Hz. Both circuits achieve charge sensitivity between 300 and 400 μe/√Hz, which approaches the best alternatives (e.g., RF-SET at ~ 140 μe/√Hz) but with much less implementation overhead. For the single-shot latched charge readout performed, both circuits achieve high-fidelity readout in times < 10 μs with bit error rates < 10-3, which is a great improvement over previous work at > 70 μs. The readout speed-up in principle also reduces the production of errors due to excited state relaxation by a factor of ~ 10. All of these results are possible with relatively simple, low-power transistor circuits which can be mounted close to the qubit device at the mixing chamber stage of the dilution refrigerator.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Physics & Astronomy

First Committee Member (Chair)

Ivan H. Deutsch

Second Committee Member

Stephen M. Carr

Third Committee Member

Malcolm S. Carroll

Fourth Committee Member

Jason R. Petta




quantum information, quantum computing, semiconducting qubits, readout, cryogenic amplification, HBT

Document Type