Fault-tolerance thresholds for the surface code with fabrication errors

James M. Auger, Hussain Anwar, Mercedes Gimeno-Segovia, Thomas M. Stace, Dan E. Browne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The construction of topological error correction codes requires the ability to fabricate a lattice of physical qubits embedded on a manifold with a nontrivial topology such that the quantum information is encoded in the global degrees of freedom (i.e., the topology) of the manifold. However, the manufacturing of large-scale topological devices will undoubtedly suffer from fabrication errors—permanent faulty components such as missing physical qubits or failed entangling gates—introducing permanent defects into the topology of the lattice and hence significantly reducing the distance of the code and the quality of the encoded logical qubits. In this work we investigate how fabrication errors affect the performance of topological codes, using the surface code as the test bed. A known approach to mitigate defective lattices involves the use of primitive swap gates in a long sequence of syndrome extraction circuits. Instead, we show that in the presence of fabrication errors the syndrome can be determined using the supercheck operator approach and the outcome of the defective gauge stabilizer generators without any additional computational overhead or use of swap gates. We report numerical fault-tolerance thresholds in the presence of both qubit fabrication and gate fabrication errors using a circuit-based noise model and the minimum-weight perfect-matching decoder. Our numerical analysis is most applicable to two-dimensional chip-based technologies, but the techniques presented here can be readily extended to other topological architectures. We find that in the presence of 8%
qubit fabrication errors, the surface code can still tolerate a computational error rate of up to 0.1%.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number042316
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2017


  • Quantum Computation
  • quantum error correction
  • Quantum information processing
  • Quantum memories
  • Surface code quantum computing
  • Topological quantum computing
  • Quantum Information


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