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Majorana Fermions Inch Closer to Reality?

August 24, 2011 (HP41).  We would like to attract the attention of our readers, and especially those interested in quantum computing, to the paper by Pavan Hosur, Pouyan Ghaemi, Roger S. K. Mong, and Ashvin Vishwanath, all of Berkeley, which appeared this week in Phys. Rev. Lett107, 097001 (2011) and can be downloaded (PDF) free of charge.  The possible significance of this work for quantum computing is explained in the Viewpoint by Taylor L. Hughes: Majorana fermions inch closer to reality , which appeared in Physics 4, 67 – published on August 22, 2011.

The authors of the PRL paper predict that Majorana fermions can be found in magnetic field vortices in the bulk of the superconductor CuxBi2Se3.  When and if experimentally confirmed, this could open a new way of (topological) quantum computation, which uses the unique statistical property of the Majorana bound states to robustly process quantum information free from local sources of decoherence, see C. Nayak, S. H. Simon, A. Stern, M. Freedman, and S. Das Sarma, Rev. Mod. Phys80, 1083 (2008), and also G. Moore and N. Read, Nucl. PhysB360, 362 (1991).