Many-body open quantum systems balance internal dynamics against decoherence from interactions with an environment. Here, we explore this balance via random quantum circuits implemented on a trapped ion quantum computer, where the system evolution is represented by unitary gates with interspersed projective measurements. As the measurement rate is varied, a purification phase transition is predicted to emerge at a critical point akin to a fault-tolerent threshold. We probe the "pure" phase, where the system is rapidly projected to a deterministic state conditioned on the measurement outcomes, and the "mixed" or "coding" phase, where the initial state becomes partially encoded into a quantum error correcting codespace. We find convincing evidence of the two phases and show numerically that, with modest system scaling, critical properties of the transition clearly emerge.

1 aNoel, Crystal1 aNiroula, Pradeep1 aZhu, Daiwei1 aRisinger, Andrew1 aEgan, Laird1 aBiswas, Debopriyo1 aCetina, Marko1 aGorshkov, Alexey, V.1 aGullans, Michael1 aHuse, David, A.1 aMonroe, Christopher uhttps://arxiv.org/abs/2106.0588102128nas a2200229 4500008004100000245006400041210006200105260001400167520146400181100001601645700002301661700001801684700002101702700001601723700002201739700002001761700001501781700002301796700001801819700002401837856003701861 2020 eng d00aFault-Tolerant Operation of a Quantum Error-Correction Code0 aFaultTolerant Operation of a Quantum ErrorCorrection Code c9/24/20203 aQuantum error correction protects fragile quantum information by encoding it in a larger quantum system whose extra degrees of freedom enable the detection and correction of errors. An encoded logical qubit thus carries increased complexity compared to a bare physical qubit. Fault-tolerant protocols contain the spread of errors and are essential for realizing error suppression with an error-corrected logical qubit. Here we experimentally demonstrate fault-tolerant preparation, rotation, error syndrome extraction, and measurement on a logical qubit encoded in the 9-qubit Bacon-Shor code. For the logical qubit, we measure an average fault-tolerant preparation and measurement error of 0.6% and a transversal Clifford gate with an error of 0.3% after error correction. The result is an encoded logical qubit whose logical fidelity exceeds the fidelity of the entangling operations used to create it. We compare these operations with non-fault-tolerant protocols capable of generating arbitrary logical states, and observe the expected increase in error. We directly measure the four Bacon-Shor stabilizer generators and are able to detect single qubit Pauli errors. These results show that fault-tolerant quantum systems are currently capable of logical primitives with error rates lower than their constituent parts. With the future addition of intermediate measurements, the full power of scalable quantum error-correction can be achieved.

1 aEgan, Laird1 aDebroy, Dripto, M.1 aNoel, Crystal1 aRisinger, Andrew1 aZhu, Daiwei1 aBiswas, Debopriyo1 aNewman, Michael1 aLi, Muyuan1 aBrown, Kenneth, R.1 aCetina, Marko1 aMonroe, Christopher uhttps://arxiv.org/abs/2009.11482