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Suppression of macroscopic quantum tunneling in a large Josephson junction coupled to a resonator

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Physical Review B

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We employ a functional integral technique to calculate the macroscopic quantum tunneling rate at zero temperature of a current-biased Josephson junction weakly coupled to a resonator. We allow for the effects of environmental dissipation on both the junction and the resonator via baths of harmonic oscillators, and we consider both cases of weak and strong junction damping. The resonator can be, in principle, any quantum harmonic oscillator that couples to the junction bilinearly in either the coordinate or the velocity. The Josephson phase difference ϕ is the tunneling variable in this system, and the low-lying bound states in the junction’s potential energy well are weakly metastable due to tunneling through a finite-width energy barrier. There has been some interest in using such biased junctions as qubits with the resonator providing multiqubit coupling. The main result of this work is that coupling to the resonator has a suppressive effect on the junction’s tunneling: the stronger the coupling strength between the junction and resonator, the greater the reduction of the tunneling rate. Including damping to the junction also suppresses tunneling, a well-known result, but damping of the resonator actually reduces the magnitude of suppression; i.e., damping the resonator partially counteracts the suppression provided directly by the junction-resonator coupling. Details of the junction-resonator coupling yield interesting variations on this theme that may be useful for qubit design. For example, the coupling Uint between a current-biased junction and an AlN dilatational resonator should depend on the angular frequency of the resonator ωR in a power-law fashion [A. N. Cleland and M. R. Geller, Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 070501 (2004)], specifically Uint∝(ωR)n, where n=1∕2. We find that for any value of n in the range 0



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