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Hydrogen bonds in Al2O3 as dissipative two-level systems in superconducting qubits

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Journal Article - Open Access

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University of California, Santa Barbara, Materials Department Santa Barbara United States

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Dissipative two-level systems TLS have been a long-standing problem in glassy solids over the last fifty years, and have recently gained new relevance as sources of decoherence in quantum computing. Resonant absorption by TLSs in the dielectric poses a serious limitation to the performance of superconducting qubits however, the microscopic nature of these systems has yet to be established. Based on first-principles calculations, we propose that hydrogen impurities in Al2O3 are the main source of TLS resonant absorption. Hydrogen is an ubiquitous impurity and can easily incorporate in Al2O3. We find that interstitial H in Al2O3 forms a hydrogen bond O-HO. At specific O-O distances, consistent with bond lengths found in amorphous Al2O3 or near Al2O3 surfaces or interfaces, the H atom feels a double well. Tunneling between two symmetric positions gives rise to resonant absorption in the range of 10 GHz, explaining the experimental observations. We also calculate the expected qubit-TLS coupling and find it to lie between 16 and 20 MHz, consistent with experimental measurements.

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  • Physical Chemistry
  • Quantum Theory and Relativity

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