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Distinguishing a Majorana zero mode using spin-resolved measurements

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Science  12 Oct 2017:
eaan3670
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan3670

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Abstract

One-dimensional topological superconductors host Majorana zero modes (MZMs), the non-local property of which could be exploited for quantum computing applications. We use spin-polarized scanning tunneling microscopy to show that MZMs realized in self-assembled Fe chains on the surface of Pb have a spin polarization that exceeds that stemming from the magnetism of these chains. This feature, captured by our model calculations, is a direct consequence of the nonlocality of the Hilbert space of MZMs emerging from a topological band structure. Our study establishes spin polarization measurements as a diagnostic tool to distinguish topological MZMs from trivial in-gap states of a superconductor.

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