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August 20, 2012

Topological quantum computers

RIKEN researchers said in 2010 and 2011 that a superconducting topological insulator, if one existed, could be used for a new kind of very stable quantum computer

Arxiv - Chain of Majorana States from Superconducting Dirac Fermions at a Magnetic Domain Wall (5 pages)

We study theoretically a strongly type-II s-wave superconducting state of two-dimensional Dirac fermions in proximity to a ferromagnet having in-plane magnetization. It is shown that a magnetic domain wall can host a chain of equally spaced vortices in the superconducting order parameter, each of which binds a Majorana-fermion state. The overlap integral of neighboring Majorana states is sensitive to the position of the chemical potential of the Dirac fermions. Thermal transport and scanning tunneling microscopy experiments to probe the Majorana fermions are discussed.

(H/T Chris Phoenix)

RIKEN researchers have now demonstrated a magnetic topological insulator and that it may be useful eventually for dissipationless power transmission.




Nature Physics - Dirac-fermion-mediated ferromagnetism in a topological insulator

Topological insulators are a newly discovered class of materials in which helical conducting modes exist on the surface of a bulk insulator. Recently, theoretical works have shown that breaking gauge symmetry or time-reversal symmetry in these materials produces exotic states that, if realized, represent substantial steps towards realizing new magnetoelectric effects and tools useful for quantum computing. Here we demonstrate the latter symmetry breaking in the form of ferromagnetism arising from the interaction between magnetic impurities and the Dirac fermions. Using devices based on cleaved single crystals of Mn-doped Bi2Te3−ySey, the application of both solid-dielectric and ionic-liquid gating allows us to measure the transport response of the surface states within the bulk bandgap in the presence of magnetic ions. By tracking the anomalous Hall effect we find that the surface modes support robust ferromagnetism as well as magnetoconductance that is consistent with enhanced one-dimensional edge-state transport on the magnetic domain wall. Observation of this evidence for quantum transport phenomena demonstrates the accessibility of these exotics states in devices and may serve to focus the wide range of proposed methods for experimentally realizing the quantum anomalous Hall effect and states required for quantum computing

Supporting material

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