Scientists at TU Delft succeeded for the first time in detecting a Majorana particle

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Scientists at TU Delft’s Kavli Institute and the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM Foundation) have succeeded for the first time in detecting a Majorana particle. Leo Kouwenhoven and his team in the lab. Photo: Sam Rentmeester.

In the 1930s, the Italian physicist Ettore Majorana deduced from quantum theory the possibility of the existence of a very special particle, a particle that is its own anti-particle: the Majorana fermion.

Now for the first time, scientists in Leo Kouwenhoven’s research group managed to create a nanoscale electronic device in which a pair of Majorana fermions ‘appear’ at either end of a nanowire. They did this by combining an extremely small nanowire, made by colleagues from Eindhoven University of Technology, with a superconducting material and a strong magnetic field.

The group has published their sightings of ‘Signatures of Majorana Fermions’ in Science (12 April 2012). PhD-students Kun Zuo and Vincent Mourik are the lead authors of the Science article.

Kun Zuo (左堃) received his Bachelor degree from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (南京航空航天大学), after which he moved to TU Delft via the support of Erasmus Mundus program.

The research was financed by the FOM Foundation and Microsoft.

Sources: Delft University of Technology, FOM

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