Coherent superconducting qubits from a subtractive junction fabrication process

Applied Physics Letters, Volume 117, Issue 12, September 2020. Josephson tunnel junctions are the centerpiece of almost any superconducting electronic circuit, including qubits. Typically, the junctions for qubits are fabricated using shadow evaporation techniques to reduce dielectric loss contributions from the superconducting film interfaces. In recent years, however, sub-micrometer scale overlap junctions have started to attract attention. Compared to shadow mask techniques, neither an angle dependent deposition nor free-standing bridges or overlaps are needed, which are significant limitations for wafer-scale processing. This comes at the cost of breaking the vacuum during fabrication, but simplifies integration in multi-layered circuits and implementation of vastly different junction sizes and enables fabrication on a larger scale in an industrially standardized process. In this work, we demonstrate the feasibility of a subtractive process for the fabrication of overlap junctions. In an array of test contacts, we find low aging of the average normal state resistance of only 1.6% over 6 months. We evaluate the coherence properties of the junctions by employing them in superconducting transmon qubits. In time domain experiments, we find that both, the qubit life- and coherence time of our best device, are, on average, greater than [math]s. Finally, we discuss potential improvements to our technique. This work paves the way toward a more standardized process flow with advanced materials and growth processes, and constitutes an important step for the large scale fabrication of superconducting quantum circuits.