QUANTUM PHYSICS: A Schrödinger cat living in two boxes

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Abstract

Quantum superpositions of distinct coherent states in a single-mode harmonic oscillator, known as “cat states,” have been an elegant demonstration of Schrödinger's famous cat paradox. Here, we realize a two-mode cat state of electromagnetic fields in two microwave cavities bridged by a superconducting artificial atom, which can also be viewed as an entangled pair of single-cavity cat states. We present full quantum state tomography of this complex cat state over a Hilbert space exceeding 100 dimensions via quantum nondemolition measurements of the joint photon number parity. The ability to manipulate such multicavity quantum states paves the way for logical operations between redundantly encoded qubits for fault-tolerant quantum computation and communication.

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