Mysterious 'Majorana Fermion' Discovered --Could Revolutionize Understanding of Dark Matter & Future of Quantum Computing
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April 16, 2012

Mysterious 'Majorana Fermion' Discovered --Could Revolutionize Understanding of Dark Matter & Future of Quantum Computing

 

           Dark-matter


In 1938 one of the world's greatet scientists withdrew all his money and disappeared during a boat trip from Palermo to Naples. Whether he killed himself, was murdered or lived on under a different identity is still not known. But no trace of The Italian physicist Ettore Majorana has ever been found.

Majorana was a brilliant theorist who in the 1930's showed great insight into physics at a young age. He discovered a hitherto unknown solution to the equations from which quantum scientists deduce elementary particles: the Majorana fermion. Majorana deduced from quantum theory the possibility that there must be a special particle that would be right on the border between matter and antimatter.

Fast forward to February 2012, the mysterious Majorana fermion was detected in a nanowire, according to Dutch nanoscientist Leo Kouwenhoven. The discovery could confirm the theory that assumes that dark matter, which is thought to form about 73 percent of the Universe, is composed of Majorana fermions. 

Kouwenhoven leaked  preliminary results of his research at a scientific congress. On April 12, Kouwenhoven went public in Science Express, saying his team at at TU Delft’s Kavli Institute and the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM Foundation) — and also financed by Microsoft — had created a nanoscale electronic device in which a pair of Majorana fermions magically (my word) “appear” at either end of a nanowire.

The recipe was simple: take one nanowire (made by colleagues from Eindhoven University of Technology) and add a superconducting material and a strong magnetic field.

Qunatum computer experts say that Majorana fermions could be fundamental building blocks for a future quantum computer that would be exceptionally stable and barely sensitive to external influenceswould avoid the decoherence. challenge facing all current quantum computers.

Kouwenhoven’s team hopes to use a scheme called “topological quantum computation” that could evade decoherence at the hardware level by storing quantum information non-locally, which could lead to a Nobel Prize for Kouwenhoven and total domination of the future of quantum computing by Microsoft. 
Practically all theoretic particles that are predicted by quantum theory have been found in the last decades, with just a few exceptions, including the enigmatic Majorana particle and the well-known Higgs boson being sought by CERN"s massive LHC project.

On June 7, 2011 Italian media reported that the Carabinieri‘s RIS had analyzed a photograph of a man taken in Argentina in 1955, finding ten points of similarity with Majorana’s face. The mystery of the Majorana fermion lives on! 

The image below shows two Majorana fermions (orange balls) are formed at the end of the nanowire. Electrons enter the nanowire from the Gold contact, and meet the Majorana fermion on the way. If the electron has the wrong energy, it is reflected back into the contact. If it has the right energy, it can go through the Majorana fermion via a special interaction. 

 

          Majorana-Fermions1

The Daily Galaxy via ns.tudelft.nl/, kurzweilai.net, and Ref.: V. Mourik, et al., Signatures of Majorana Fermions in Hybrid Superconductor-Semiconductor Nanowire Devices, Science, 2012; [DOI:10.1126/science.1222360]

Image credit: TU Delft

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Comments

A very nice article, and well written overall despite some formatting problems in the sixth paragraph. That specific glitch is particularly frustrating for me, since I'm very interested in the details of how the Majorana Fermion would be utilized in quantum computing.

It's good that the "(my word)" disclaimer appears after the word "magically"; I only bring it up because I think "mysteriously" might have been a better choice. But that, admittedly, is really a nitpick.

On the whole, all the best to Dr. Kouwenhoven. His work, if it bears out, has placed us on the cusp of a whole new paradigm in not only computing but in technology in general, and our understanding of the fabric of the universe.

A very nice article, and well written overall despite some formatting problems in the sixth paragraph. That specific glitch is particularly frustrating for me, since I'm very interested in the details of how the Majorana Fermion would be utilized in quantum computing.

It's good that the "(my word)" disclaimer appears after the word "magically"; I only bring it up because I think "mysteriously" might have been a better choice. But that, admittedly, is really a nitpick.

On the whole, all the best to Dr. Kouwenhoven. His work, if it bears out, has placed us on the cusp of a whole new paradigm in not only computing but in technology in general, and our understanding of the fabric of the universe.

I always thought the brain, that is the sentient brain, is in a sense a biological quantum computer.

@Bob, I half-thought the problems in that paragraph were a self-referential demonstration of decoherence. :-)

Is the detected Majorana fermion an elementary particle or a quasiparticle generated by superconductor excitation? Since a superconductor is fundamentally involved in this detection, I suspect it's a quasiparticle. This probably isn't an issue for quantum computation, but this probably is an issue for determining the composition of dark matter.

My God, it's full of...dust!

i see a parallel between this discussion on Majorana particle and the Higgs boson, the primordial particle that generated the fundamental particles that we observe presently.The problem lies with how close we come to the generation of the universe or Big Bang. Higgs boson is supposed to be fraction of second to time zero. How close one can go affects such conceptualization. It may well be true that the fundamental particle may well be a pair of heavy quarks that no longer exist in the visible universe today bbut may well be the constituents of dark matter as non baryonic in nature, with no possible interaction with visible baryonic matter, except gravity due to mass.

Dark matter exists only on paper and finding the effects of a new particle is not going to instantly confirm anything.
Only in a big bang based cosmology is there need for dark matter to explain one of the many unexplainable findings of the last few decades.
In the proper perspective, electrical not gravity based reality, we do not need to invent undetectable components we can do scalable experiments and use math to bring out the beauty and simplicity of it all.

Fools ! You're all reinventing the circle.

The stuff is PHLOGISTON ! ! ! -- Perhaps colored quark-like with quiescent doping by Orgone or Aether. It self-manifesters from the Googool-Point into this 2-dimensional world, and leaks onto the Internet by a process of memory-replacement every other chronon ( +/- 1 ).

The experimental proof is elegant : Hold your breath until you die.

Signed

Dr Not

There is an implication that vastly exceeds the probable benefit to quantum computing. There is another application to create a propulsive effect. It is most compelling.

Quantum computing? The device weighs an average 1.4 kilos, but the guys have proved to be unable to fathom it. Most are even afraid of it; and it is the tool required to understand it; but you´ve got to learn to use some of its basics first. No? So explain what the hell have you all been using to come to all of the conclusions and understanding? What is the tool that has been used to generate all of the technologies? C´m on, get your heads out of the sand...

If I am understanding this correctly, the Majorana fermion is a quasiparticle that typically is treated as a combination electron-hole combination in a semiconductor, or a Cooper pair in a superconductor? It is also an "anapole" (think magnetic monopoles), and somehow this particle (with vector mass) is now a candidate for the composition of dark matter, as detected by interferometry instruments like the ones in the Hubble Space Telescope?

That's an awful lot of mass-energy (26% of spiral galaxies like the milky way), and if it 'really' is its own antiparticle (and by that we mean self-annhialating, not just self-cancelling), this could replace interstellar hydrogen as a potential fuel for starship antimatter thrust, as well as the core technology for their on-board quantum supercomputers. Someone really needs to get this right.


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