Topological phases of matter are distinguished by a form of quantum order that cannot be characterized in terms of any local order parameter. A most striking manifestation of topological order is the emergence of topologically protected zero-energy boundary modes that are otherwise not realized in Nature. For a topological superconductor, in particular, such emergent quasi-particles coincide with their own anti-particles, naturally embodying elusive quantum objects known as "Majorana fermions". We are investigating new routes for realizing topological superconductors in condensed-matter systems, with the goals of both elucidating fundamental physical aspects of Majorana fermions and their possible significance for topologically robust qubit implementations.
FACULTY CONTACT: Lorenza Viola