Quantum 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