Quantum computing and condensed matter physics with microwave photons

Dispersive Photon Blockade in a Superconducting Circuit

A. J. Hoffman, S. J. Srinivasan, S. Schmidt, L. Spietz, J. Aumentado, H. E. Türeci, and A. A. Houck

Mediated photon-photon interactions are realized in a superconducting coplanar waveguide cavity coupled to a superconducting charge qubit. These nonresonant interactions blockade the transmission of photons through the cavity. This so-called dispersive photon blockade is characterized by measuring the total transmitted power while varying the energy spectrum of the photons incident on the cavity. A staircase with four distinct steps is observed and can be understood in an analogy with electron transport and the Coulomb blockade in quantum dots. This work differs from previous efforts in that the cavity-qubit excitations retain a photonic nature rather than a hybridization of qubit and photon and provides the needed tolerance to disorder for future condensed matter experiments.