Microsoft Quantum Research Unites Academia and Industry

New physics discovery from the Microsoft Quantum team: topology with a twist

Excerpts and salient points ~

+  Our teams have been making advances in materials and device fabrication, designing the precise physical environment required to support the topological state of matter. The latest discovery by the team expands the landscape for creating and controlling the exotic particles critical for enabling topological superconductivity in nanoscale devices.

This research, born from a cross-disciplinary collaboration on the Microsoft Quantum team, highlights how theoretical physics, experimental physics, and materials science can unite across academia and industry to generate new ideas that lead to breakthrough technologies.

+  A topological qubit is constructed by arranging several nanowires hosting MZMs in a comb-like structure and coupling them in a specific way that lets them share multiple MZMs. The first step in building a topological qubit is to reliably establish the topological phase in these nanowires.

+  While exploring the conditions for the creation of topological superconductivity, the team discovered a topological quantum vortex state in the core of a semiconductor nanowire surrounded on all sides by a superconducting shell. They were very surprised to find Majorana modes in the structure, akin to a topological vortex residing inside of a nanoscale coaxial cable.

+  Roman Lutchyn, Principal Research Manager and lead of the theoretical effort, reflected on the collaboration process. “Microsoft Quantum started with just a small group in Santa Barbara. Now we’ve grown into a much broader organization with labs all around the world – Copenhagen, Delft, Purdue, Sydney, Redmond, among others. I think this paper is a landmark in our partnership between teams and is a model of how we can work effectively together as one team – around the world – on related ideas in physics, ultimately generating new and potentially important results.”

+  Charles Marcus, Scientific Director of Microsoft Quantum Lab – Copenhagen and lead for the experimental effort, concurs, “[This paper is an example] where two results – from theory and experiment – help each other to make more conclusive statements about physics. Otherwise, we would have been left with more abstract theory; and experimentally, we would have measurements but may have hedged on interpretation. By merging theory and experiment, the overall story is stronger and also more interesting, seeing the connection to related phenomena in different systems.”

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