Nav: Home

Majorana trilogy completed

March 28, 2018

Since the breakthrough discovery of the Majorana particle in 2012 in Delft, researchers faced great challenges. The group of professor Leo Kouwenhoven at QuTech and Microsoft collaborated with theorists and material scientists of various institutes to understand the next steps required to improve the experiments. Now, the scientists provide a definite proof for Majorana existence paving the way towards Majorana quantum bits. They publish their work in Nature.


In 1937, Ettore Majorana predicted a new, fundamental particle that is later named after him: the Majorana particle. The particle has the property of being its own anti-particle. Researcher Hao Zhang: 'this is very special, usually there is an opposite property in the antiparticle, such as charge: the antiparticle of the electron is the positron.' Majorana quasiparticles appear in materials in extremely restricted conditions. When a nanowire made from a semiconductor is connected to a superconductive material, researchers see a so-called zero-bias peak in the case of certain electric and magnetic fields. This signal is the main characteristic of the presence of Majoranas.

Definite proof

In the first experiment of 2012, the zero-bias peak was noisy, and difficult to see. This made the Majorana appearance debatable. In the years that followed, researchers worked very hard on improving the theory, materials and the experimental fabrications. The past months multiple breakthroughs followed each other. Transport in the required materials is improved in two steps: high-quality interfaces and superclean Majorana transport. Furthermore, the design of nano-hashtags allowed for future exchange of Majorana particles, the final step required for topological quantum computing.

Now the researchers in Delft combine all improvements in an experiment to show the quantized conductance of the zero-bias peak. This perfect quantization of the Majorana conductance is the final proof of the existence of the Majorana's. Zhang: 'it is a direct consequence of the particle-antiparticle property.'

Perfect quantum computer

This experiment closes a chapter in the quest for Majorana particles, and opens a new chapter to work towards quantum information processing based on their properties. Their unique physical characteristics make the Majorana particles much more stable than the majority of other qubits. Making and regulating these Majoranas on the way to creating this topological quantum computer is still challenging. The level of control and understanding that is reached now, allows for the exploration of Majorana quantum computing. The researchers now aim to combine the previous breakthroughs in one experiment to realize a qubit based on four Majorana particles.

'For that, we need to scale up to more complicated networks such as the nano-hashtags, 'Hao Zhang explains, 'and then we finally have a qubit that is protected by its own topology.'
This work was performed in close collaboration between QuTech, TU Delft, JQI(Maryland), Microsoft, TU Eindhoven and UC Santa Barbara.

Also see this beautiful explanation at

Delft University of Technology

Related Majorana Articles:

Majorana trilogy completed
Since the breakthrough discovery of the Majorana particle in 2012 in Delft, researchers faced great challenges.
Underground neutrino experiment sets the stage for deep discovery about matter
In a study published in Physical Review Letters, collaborators of the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR, an experiment led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, have shown they can shield a sensitive, scalable 44-kilogram germanium detector array from background radioactivity.
Majorana runners go long range: New topological phases of matter unveiled
New topological phases of matter have been discovered by researchers from Universidad Complutense, MIT, and Harvard University.
Unconventional superconductor may be used to create quantum computers of the future
With their insensitivity to decoherence what are known as Majorana particles could become stable building blocks of a quantum computer.
Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Jan. 2018
ORNL story tips, Jan. 2018: Study identifies microbes to diagnose endometriosis without surgery; brain-inspired device can quickly classify data; neutrons 'see' how water flows through fractured rock; new method could help with demand for electric vehicle charging stations; bio-based, shape-memory material could replace today's conductors; novel approach for studying material's magnetic behavior could boost quantum computing.
Finding Majoranas
Nano-'hashtags' could be the key to generating the highly sought Majorana quasiparticle.
Experiment provides deeper look into the nature of neutrinos
The first glimpse of data from the full array of a deeply chilled particle detector operating beneath a mountain in Italy sets the most precise limits yet on where scientists might find a theorized process to help explain why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe.
Spotting the spin of the Majorana fermion under the microscope
Using a new twist on a technique for imaging atomic structures, researchers at Princeton have detected a unique quantum property of the Majorana fermion, an elusive particle with the potential for use in quantum information systems.
New 'building material' points toward quantum computers
Quantum computer: A Danish-American research team has shown that it is possible to produce 'Majorana particles' in a new 'building material'.
Quantum detectives in the hunt for the world's first quantum computer
A new paper in Nature Communications is the latest confirmation of Majorana fermions -- a strange quasiparticle at the heart of the next generation of quantum machines being pursued by University of Sydney and Microsoft Station Q engineers.

Related Majorana Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Jumpstarting Creativity
Our greatest breakthroughs and triumphs have one thing in common: creativity. But how do you ignite it? And how do you rekindle it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on jumpstarting creativity. Guests include economist Tim Harford, producer Helen Marriage, artificial intelligence researcher Steve Engels, and behavioral scientist Marily Oppezzo.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".