Quantum-limited microwave parametric amplifiers are genuine key pillars for rising quantum technologies and, in general, for applications that rely on the successful readout of weak microwave signals by adding only the minimum amount of noise allowed by quantum mechanics. In this Perspective, after providing a brief overview on the different families of parametric microwave amplifiers, we focus on traveling wave parametric amplifiers, underlining the key achievements of the last few years and the present open challenges. We also discuss possible new research directions beyond amplification such as exploring these devices as a platform for multi-mode entanglement generation and for the development of single photon detectors.

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