Surface Passivation of Niobium Superconducting Quantum Circuits Using Self-Assembled Monolayers

Mohammed Alghadeer, Archan Banerjee, Ahmed Hajr, Hussein Hussein, Hossein Fariborzi, Saleem Ghaffar Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Superconducting coplanar waveguide (CPW) microwave resonators in quantum circuits are the best components for reading and changing the state of artificial atoms because of their excellent coupling to quantum systems. This coupling forms the basis of the developing circuit quantum electrodynamic architecture. In quantum processors, oscillators are used to store and transmit quantum information using microwave-frequency wave packets. However, the presence of amorphous thin-film defects is deleterious and can result in an irrevocable loss of coherent information with uncontrolled degrees of freedom. Although there has been extensive research into techniques to reduce the coherent loss of such devices, the precise structure of amorphous dielectric layers on surfaces and interfaces and their associated loss mechanism are being actively studied. In particular, planar superconducting resonators are very sensitive to defects on their surfaces, such as two-level systems in oxidized metals and nonequilibrium quasiparticles, making these devices suitable probes for the different loss mechanisms. In this work, we present the design, fabrication, and characterization of Nb CPW resonators with different surface treatments with self-assembled monolayers (SAMs), which mitigate the growth of oxides in superconducting circuits. We demonstrate SAM-passivated resonators having internal quality factors of greater than 106 at a single-photon excitation power (measured at 100 mK), which were probed using scanning electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and transmission electron microscopy to demonstrate the efficiency of our surface treatment. Finally, we compared the improvements in the experimental quality factors to those obtained by numerical simulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2319-2328
Number of pages10
JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 11 2023


  • coupled transmission lines
  • microwave resonators
  • quantum processors
  • radiofrequency devices
  • superconducting coplanar waveguide
  • superconducting quantum circuits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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