May 01, 2016

"Majorana fermions, which can be thought of as a paired 'electron halves,' may lead to creating quantum entanglement believed necessary for quantum computers."

MIT News: “Our first goal is to look for the Majorana fermions, unambiguously detect them, and show this is it. It’s been the goal for many people for a long time. It’s one of those things predicted 80 years ago, and yet to be shown in a conclusive manner,” Moodera says. by Denis Paiste

'Moodera’s group is searching for these Majorana fermions on the surface of gold, a phenomenon predicted in 2012 by William and Emma Rogers Professor of Physics Patrick Lee and Andrew C. Potter PhD ’13. “I have a lot of hope that it’s going to come up with something very interesting, this particular area is exotically rich,” Moodera says.

'His team reported progress toward this goal in a Nano Letters paper published on March 4. Postdoc Peng Wei, with fellow Moodera group postdocs Ferhat Katmis and Cui-Zu Chang, demonstrate that epitaxial (111)-oriented gold thin films become superconducting when grown on top of superconducting vanadium film. The vanadium becomes a superconductor below 4 kelvins, which is hundreds of degrees below room temperature. Tests show that the surface state of (111)-oriented gold also becomes superconducting, which holds out potential for this system in the search for Majorana fermions.

'Future work will seek to detect Majorana fermions on the ends of (111)-oriented gold nanowires. “In this kind of nanowire, in principle, we would expect Majorana fermion states to exist at the end of the nanowire instead of in the middle,” Wei explains. Moodera says, “We have not discovered Majorana fermions yet, however, we have made a very nice foundation for that.” Further results will be published soon.'

"Induced Superconductivity and Engineered Josephson Tunneling Devices in Epitaxial (111)-Oriented Gold/Vanadium Heterostructures" by Peng Wei, et al, here

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