Suppression and characterization of decoherence in practical quantum information processing devices
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This dissertation addresses the issue of noise in quantum information processing devices. It is common knowledge that quantum states are particularly fragile to the effects of noise. In order to perform scalable quantum computation, it is necessary to suppress effective noise to levels which depend on the size of the computation. Various theoretical proposals have discussed how this can be achieved, under various assumptions about properties of the noise and the availability of qubits. We discuss new approaches to the suppression of noise, and propose experimental protocols characterizing the noise. In the first part of the dissertation, we discuss a number of applications of teleportation to fault-tolerant quantum computation. We demonstrate how measurement-based quantum computation can be made inherently fault-tolerant by exploiting its relationship to teleportation. We also demonstrate how continuous variable quantum systems can be used as ancillas for computation with qubits, and how information can be reliably teleported between these different systems. Building on these ideas, we discuss how the necessary resource states for teleportation can be prepared by allowing quantum particles to be scattered by qubits, and investigate the feasibility of an implementation using superconducting circuits. In the second part of the dissertation, we propose scalable experimental protocols for extracting information about the noise. We concentrate on information which has direct practical relevance to methods of noise suppression. In particular, we demonstrate how standard assumptions about properties of the noise can be tested in a scalable manner. The experimental protocols we propose rely on symmetrizing the noise by random application of unitary operations. Depending on the symmetry group use, different information about the noise can be extracted. We demonstrate, in particular, how to estimate the probability of a small number of qubits being corrupted, as well as how to test for a necessary condition for noise correlations. We conclude by demonstrating how, without relying on assumptions about the noise, the information obtained by symmetrization can also be used to construct protective encodings for quantum states.