Qubits as Spectrometers of Quantum Noise
Electrical engineers and physicists are naturally very interested in the noise of circuits, amplifiers and detectors. This noise has many origins, some of which are completely unavoidable. For example, a dissipative element (a resistor) at finite temperature inevitably generates Johnson noise. Engineers long ago developed spectrum analyzers to measure the intensity of this noise. Roughly speaking, these spectrum analyzers consist of a resonant circuit to select a particular frequency of interest, followed by an amplifier and square law detector (e.g. a diode rectifier) which measures the mean square amplitude of the signal at that frequency.
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