PerspectivePhysics

Counting on Majorana modes

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Science  10 Jan 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6474, pp. 145
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz9589

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Summary

Systems with robust quantum states that are immune to external noise are essential to forming qubits, the basic unit of a large scalable quantum computer. A special type of superconductor in which quantum information is confined to the surfaces or the edges provides an accessible route to realizing robust qubits. These topological superconductors may host Majorana modes, which are related to Majorana fermions, which can be their own antiparticle. Direct evidence for Majorana modes does not yet exist, but several observations are consistent with their existence (1, 2). Majorana modes are also predicted to be characterized by an electrical conductance peak with a definite “quantized” value (3). On page 189 of this issue, Zhu et al. (4) used tunneling spectroscopy to find evidence for this quantized conductance in an iron tellurium selenide. Another recent study found similar behavior (5).

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