Thursday, May 3, 2012
Physics Research Conference
The Discovery of Majorana Fermions in Condensed Matter?
Jason Alicea, Assistant Professor, Physics & Astronomy, UC Irvine
The 1937 theoretical discovery of Majorana fermions (particles that are their own anti-particles) has since impacted diverse problems ranging from neutrino physics and dark matter searches to the quantum Hall effect and superconductivity. This talk will survey recent revolutionary advances in the condensed matter pursuit of these elusive objects. In particular, I will discuss new ways of "engineering" Majorana platforms using exceedingly simple building blocks, along with a pioneering experiment that may have achieved the first ever conclusive sighting of Majorana fermions. These developments mark the first steps of a fascinating research program that could eventually overcome one of the grand challenges in the fieldthe synthesis of a scalable quantum computer.