PerspectivePhysics

Majorana fermions go for a ride

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Science  03 Jan 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6473, pp. 23-24
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz6961

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Summary

Enrico Fermi described Ettore Majorana as having the mind of a genius. The Majorana fermion, born as a testimony to the truthfulness of mathematical aesthetics, has recently returned to the center stage of modern physics. These are particles that are also their own antiparticles. For decades, Majorana's theory was considered a mathematical curiosity that has little to do with reality. However, they have now become the key concept associated with certain types of quasiparticles in condensed-matter systems (1). In the condensed-matter context, they are not fundamental particles like electrons or neutrinos but emerging excitations that we term quasiparticles. On page 104 of this issue, Wang et al. (2) provide strong evidence for the observation of Majorana quasiparticles in an iron-based superconductor, FeSexTe1−x.

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