Alternative route to topological superconductivity

Hybrid material nanowires with pencil-like cross section (A) at low temperatures and finite magnetic field display zero-energy peaks (B) consistent with topological superconductivity as verified by numerical simulations (C). Credit: Nbi

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen, in collaboration with Microsoft Quantum researchers, have used a pencil-shaped semiconductor measuring only a few hundred nanometers in diameter to uncover a new route to topological superconductivity and Majorana zero modes.

The new route that the researchers discovered uses the phase winding around the circumference of a cylindrical superconductor surrounding a semiconductor, an approach they call a conceptual breakthrough.

This new research merges two already known ideas used in the world of quantum mechanics: vortex-based topological superconductors and one-dimensional topological superconductivity in nanowires.

The result may provide a useful route toward the use of Majorana zero modes as a basis of protected qubits.

The study was recently published in Science.