Applied Physics Letters

Protecting superconducting qubits from radiation

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We characterize a superconducting qubit before and after embedding it along with its package in an absorptive medium. We observe a drastic improvement in the effective qubit temperature and over a tenfold improvement in the relaxation time up to 5.7 s. Our results suggest the presence of external radiation inside the cryogenic apparatus can be a limiting factor for both qubit initialization and coherence. Calculations support the hypothesis that the relaxation is not limited by direct coupling of thermal photons to the qubit prior to embedding, but by dissipation arising from quasiparticle generation. © 2011 American Institute of Physics.