Addressing Qubits with a Software-Defined Radio Field Programmable Gate Array

Lisa Poyneer | 20-FS-002

Project Overview

Superconducting transmons can be configured as qubits and can also be used for weak signal axion searches. During a prior project, researchers developed a robust capability for system simulation and analysis, algorithm development, algorithm to field-programmable gate array (FPGA) workflow, and experimental measurements. During that project, it was determined that a new software-defined radio FPGA would be a significant improvement in cost, simplicity, and software maintainability over the prior FPGA plus radio-frequency (RF) front-end system that had been used. In this feasibility study, we successfully developed the interface to the new software-defined radio (SDR) platform, generated and optimized the VHDL (very-high-speed integrated circuit hardware description language) of the existing algorithms, and experimentally tested the new FPGA system on real qubit in the laboratory. These tests showed it had the same signal-to-noise ratio on weak measurements as the prior FPGA.

Mission Impact

This project expanded staff expertise and provided specific technical approaches that directly support programmatic work at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in quantum sensing, simulation, and computing as part of the Department of Energy National Strategic Computing Initiative.

Publications, Presentations, and Patents

Wubshet, A. 2020. "An Investigation of USRP FPGA as a platform for Quantum Sensing and Control," M. Eng. thesis submitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, May 2020. LLNL-TH-809963