University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Colloquium

Thursday, September 20th 2018
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Ali Yazdani, Princeton University
Subject: Spotting the elusive Majorana under the microscope
Refreshments in atrium after the Colloquium.

Ettore Majorana famously considered that there may be fermions in nature that are their own antiparticle — and then he mysteriously disappeared just after proposing the idea in 1938. In recent years, we have learned how to engineer materials that harbor quasiparticles that behave similar to fermions Majorana had envisioned. In particular, there has been a focus on one-dimensional topological superconductor that harbor Majorana zero modes (MZM) that can potentially be used to make fault-tolerant topological quantum computation possible. Recently, we have proposed and implemented a platform for realization of topological superconductivity and MZM in chains of magnetic atoms on the surface of a superconductor [1,2]. In this talk, I will describe this platform and the series of experiments we have performed to establish the presence of these exotic quasi-particle using spectroscopic mapping with the STM. [2-4] These include a recent study of the unique spin signature of MZM.[4] Finally, if there is time I will describe some ongoing experiment on realization of MZM in a platform based on chiral quantum spin Hall edge states.

[1] S. Nadj-Perge et al. PRB 88, 020407 (2013).
[2] S. Nadj-Perge et al. Science 346, 6209 (2014).
[3] B. E. Feldman et al. Nature Physics 13, 286 (2016).
[4] S. Jeon et al. Science 358, 772 (2017).

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