Electronic structure of superposition states in flux qubits

Jan I Korsbakken, Frank K Wilhelm, K Birgitta Whaley
2009 Physica Scripta  
Flux qubits, small superconducting loops interrupted by Josephson junctions, are successful realizations of quantum coherence for macroscopic variables. Superconductivity in these loops is carried by ∼ 10^6 -- 10^10 electrons, which has been interpreted as suggesting that coherent superpositions of such current states are macroscopic superpositions analogous to Schrödinger's cat. We provide a full microscopic analysis of such qubits, from which the macroscopic quantum description can be
more » ... This reveals that the number of microscopic constituents participating in superposition states for experimentally accessible flux qubits is surprisingly but not trivially small. The combination of this relatively small size with large differences between macroscopic observables in the two branches is seen to result from the Fermi statistics of the electrons and the large disparity between the values of superfluid and Fermi velocity in these systems.
doi:10.1088/0031-8949/2009/t137/014022 fatcat:6sgj7ujzvrfw5p3osqddyvuf44