We consider the implementation of two-qubit gates when the physical systems used to realize the qubits possess additional quantum states in the accessible energy range. We use optimal control theory to determine the maximum achievable gate speed for two-qubit gates in the qubit subspace of the many-level Hilbert space, and we analyze the effect of the additional quantum states on the gate speed. We identify two competing mechanisms. On one hand, higher energy levels are generally more strongly coupled to each other. Under suitable conditions, this stronger coupling can be utilized to make two-qubit gates significantly faster than the reference value based on simple qubits. On the other hand, a weak anharmonicity constrains the speed at which the system can be adequately controlled: according to the intuitive picture, faster operations require stronger control fields, which are more likely to excite higher levels in a weakly anharmonic system, which in turn leads to faster decoherence and uncontrolled leakage outside the qubit space. To account for this constraint, we modify the pulse optimization algorithm to avoid pulses that lead to appreciable population of the higher levels. In this case, we find that the presence of the higher levels can lead to a significant reduction in the maximum achievable gate speed. We also compare the optimal-control gate speeds with those obtained using the cross-resonance or selective-darkening gate protocol. We find that this protocol, with some parameter optimization, can be used to achieve a relatively fast implementation of the controlled-NOT gate. These results can help the search for optimized gate implementations in realistic quantum computing architectures, such as those based on superconducting circuits. They also provide guidelines for desirable conditions on anharmonicity that would allow optimal utilization of the higher levels to achieve fast quantum gates.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics