Majorana Fermion

The Discovery of Majorana Fermion

A group of scientists led by Professor Leo Kouwenhoven at the Delft University of Technology in Netherlands have succeeded in detecting elusive fermion antiparticle, proposed by the Ettore Majorana about 80 years earlier. In 1937, famous physicist have proposed the existence of a special particle - later dubbed majorana fermion after him - that would have properties of both, matter and antimatter. Matured and taken in right direction this discovery could lead to revolution in quantum physics and specifically quantum computing since it proposes fundamentally new model of transistor. Researchers suggested that use of some rare materials might afford the detection of that mysterious particle.


Concept of Majorana Fermion Nano-Device 

Kouwenhoven and his colleagues managed to connect the indium antimonide nano-wires to a circuit with a gold contacts and a peace of superconductor at the other. Then, they radiated the circuit with a medium-strength magnetic field. As a result electrical conductivity of the nanowires peaked at zero voltage which proved the presence of a pair of fermion antiparticles. This kind of fermion possesses the unique properties which put it in its own category. The difference between particle and antiparticle consists of opposite electric charge and magnetic properties, though both must have the same mass. The interaction between majorana fermion and regular matter particles produce very interesting behavior which puts it new category.

Majorana Fermion in Quantum Computers 

The major difference between majorana fermion and other subatomic particles such as bosons is that it maintains its wave function and remembers its previously taken path. This property makes majorana fermion a great choice for use in quantum computers since the feasibility of the whole concept is dependent on stability of a cubit particle - core carrier of information unit and an alternative of a transistor. 

The problem uniting every quantum computer developer on earth today is the volatility of the qubits, the basic unit of information and the alternative to conventional bit. Though researchers are unsure how long-lived fermion qubits would be, they are certain that qubits created using fermion antiparticles will be less affected by the external influence such as magnetic fields and random particle radiation. The long-lived memory of fermions is the most attractive factor that will help scientists to solve some of the old mysteries of quantum mechanics.


References: Science, Dario Borghino, Leo Kouwenhoven, FOM, Microsoft