Particles Similar To Majorana Fermions Discovered

Physicists have established a method to study the characteristics of Majorana zero modes, a quasiparticle that resembles Majorana fermions.

AsianScientist (Nov. 3, 2016) – Scientists in China have found particles that are similar to Majorana fermions, elementary particles whose antiparticles are identical to themselves. This work was published in Nature Communications.

Majorana fermions were first proposed by physicist Majorana in 1937. This kind of fermion is vital to the research of superconducting materials and topological quantum computation. However, 80 years after they were posited, scientists have still not found a Majorana elementary particle. Though it is widely proposed that the neutrinos are Majorana fermions, there is still no evidence to support this conjecture.

In condensed matter physics, scientists have found a kind of quasiparticle called Majorana zero modes (MZMs) that have similar characteristics as Majorana fermions. In the present study, the research team led by Professors Li Chuangfeng, Xu Jinshi, and Han Yongjian from the Key Laboratory of Quantum Information of the Chinese Academy of Sciences achieved fabrication and manipulation of MZM in an optical simulator.

The research team took advantage of the quantum simulation approach. While the simulated system is not experimentally accessible with current technology, the quantum simulator and its measurement results provide information about the simulated system.

The method established here provides a novel way to study quantum statistics, topological quantum computation and the characters of MZMs. Moreover, this achievement establishes a promising platform to investigate the properties of MZMs in complex architectures and the topological quantum computation based on said MZMs.

The article can be found at: Xu et al. (2016) Simulating the Exchange of Majorana Zero Modes with a Photonic System.


Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences.
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