(SciTechDaily) A team of theoretical and experimental physicists at Aalto University have designed a new ultra-thin material that they have used to create elusive quantum states. Called one-dimensional Majorana zero energy modes, these quantum states could have a huge impact for quantum computing.
A new type of qubit, called a topological qubit, could solve the problems arising from quantum computers’ sensitivity to noise and interference from the computer’s surroundings. Majorana zero energy modes may be the key to making them.
“A topological quantum computer is based on topological qubits, which are supposed to be much more noise tolerant than other qubits. However, topological qubits have not been produced in the lab yet,” explains Professor Peter Liljeroth, the lead researcher on the project.
MZMs are groups of electrons bound together in a specific way so they behave like a particle called a Majorana fermion, a semi-mythical particle first proposed by semi-mythical physicist Ettore Majorana in the 1930s. If Majorana’s theoretical particles could be bound together, they would work as a topological qubit. One catch: no evidence for their existence has ever been seen, either in the lab or in astronomy. Instead of attempting to make a particle that no one has ever seen anywhere in the universe, researchers instead try to make regular electrons behave like the
“There was a lot of simulation work needed to prove that the signal we’re seeing was caused by MZMs, and not other effects,” says Professor Foster. “We needed to show that all the pieces fitted together to prove that we had produced MZMs.”
Now the team is sure that they can make 1D MZMs in 2-dimensional materials, the next step will be to attempt to make them into topological qubits.