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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 study was recently published in Science.

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.

"The result may provide a useful route toward the use of Majorana zero modes as a basis of protected qubits for . We do not know if these wires themselves will be useful, or if just the ideas will be useful," says Charles Marcus, Villum Kann Rasmussen Professor at the Niels Bohr Institute and Scientific Director of Microsoft Quantum Lab in Copenhagen.

What they report appears to be a much easier way of creating Majorana zero modes, in which they can be switched on and off, according to postdoctoral research fellow Saulius Vaitiekenas, who was the lead experimentalist on the study.

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Category: Science