[PAST EVENT] Physics Colloquium
Jay D. Sau, University of Maryland, Title of Talk: Search for the new exotic quantum particle: Non-Abelian Majorana zero modes at semiconductor-superconductor interfaces
Abstract: Majorana zero modes are fermion-like excitations that were originally proposed in particle physics by Ettore Majorana and are characterized as being their own anti-particle. In condensed matter systems Majorana zero modes occur as fractionalized excitations with topologically protected degeneracy associated with such excitations. For over a decade the only candidate systems for observing Majorana zero modes were the non-Abelian fractional quantum Hall state and chiral p-wave superconductors. In this talk, I will discuss a recent set of proposals for realizing Majorana zero modes in a large class of spin-orbit coupled, time-reversal symmetry broken superconducting systems. The simplicity of this class of systems has resulted in several experimental attempts, which have successfully observed preliminary evidence for the Majorana zero modes in the form of zero-bias conductance peaks and the fractional Josephson effect. Following this I will discuss future possibilities in terms of modifications to the experiments to help confirm the presence of Majorana zero modes through more dramatic signatures.