Majorana fermions in superconductors: in search of the Zen particle

Leiden University
Higgs Centre Seminar Room, JCMB
Friday, February 10, 2017
13:00 to 14:00

Among the many exotic properties of topological superconductors, the

prediction that they can host Majorana fermions stands out both for its

fundamental interest and for possible applications in topological

quantum computing. To exchange (braid) pairs of Majoranas is the heroic

experiment, since it would identify them as a fundamentally new type of

quasiparticles with non-Abelian statistics. The road towards this goal

has several milestones, starting from the detection of the particle

itself, on which the present generation of experiments is focused. In

this talk we look ahead towards the next milestones: the construction of

a qubit out of Majoranas, the measurement of its coherence times, and

finally the braiding experiment to demonstrate its non-Abelian nature.

The key problem that we address is how to operate on a cipher with zero

charge, zero spin, zero energy, and zero mass: