Published:

Quantum annealing is an optimization technique which potentially leverages quantum tunneling to enhance computational performance. Existing quantum annealers use superconducting flux qubits with short coherence times, limited primarily by the use of large persistent currents $I_\mathrm{p}$. Here, we examine an alternative approach, using qubits with smaller $I_\mathrm{p}$ and longer coherence times. We demonstrate tunable coupling, a basic building block for quantum annealing, between two flux qubits with small ($\sim 50~\mathrm{nA}$) persistent currents. Furthermore, we characterize qubit coherence as a function of coupler setting and investigate the effect of flux noise in the coupler loop on qubit coherence. Our results provide insight into the available design space for next-generation quantum annealers with improved coherence.