Heat Transport in Superconducting Quantum Circuits

Jorden Senior

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Superconducting microwave circuits are a ubiquitous and important tool for devices that exploit the phenomena of superconductivity and cryogenic temperatures as an environment for achieving the generation, manipulation, and detection of quantum states - required for the ongoing development of quantum technologies. In particular, superconducting circuits are a promising platform for the universal quantum computer, which will require an unprecedented density of quantum-coherent elements to perform large-scale quantum-enhanced calculations and simulations, using the framework of cavity quantum electrodynamics. Dissipation and heat in these superconducting circuits is a key source of error and inefficiency, however the thermodynamics in this regime is poorly understood despite its increasing relevancy. This thesis describes the integration of superconducting resonators and artificial atoms derived from superconducting quantum circuits with ultra-sensitive bolometry, for looking at heat transport through superconducting circuits. We will describe the physics and operation of each of these elements, before combining and utilising them to perform heat transport measurements through a superconducting artificial atom coupled to two resonators, each terminated by a normal-metal mesoscopic resistor, with the resistor temperature measured and temperature gradients across the circuit induced by superconducting tunnel-probes. We will present tunable heat transport through this system, firstly when the resonators are symmetric, allowing us to observe the role of dissipation-limited coupling of the resonators to the artificial atom on the locality of the heat transport, then on an asymmetric system, demonstrating a directional rectification of the heat transport. Additionally, we will discuss how each element of the system can be individually characterised, in particular the quality factor of superconducting resonators in the highly-dissipative limit, by exploiting the superconducting transition to perform a background reference. It is suggested that this hybrid quantum system, and these initial experiments provide a promising platform in the emergent field of circuit quantum thermodynamics. We believe that the techniques and tools developed during this thesis present key steps towards the understanding of the thermodynamics of quantum circuits, towards the realisation of devices that can explore heat transport in the quantum limit, such as a quantum heat engine.
Translated title of the contributionHeat Transport in Superconducting Quantum Circuits
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Pekola, Jukka, Supervising Professor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-8856-3
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-8857-0
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • superconducting quantum circuit
  • microwaves
  • qubit
  • tunnel junction
  • quantum heat valve
  • dissipation
  • heat bath
  • NIS thermometry


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