Visualizing Majorana fermions in a chain of magnetic atoms on a superconductor

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A chain of magnetic atoms on the surface of a superconductor provides a versatile platform for realizing a one-dimensional topological superconductivity phase with edge-bounded Majorana fermions zero modes. This platform lends itself to spatial resolved measurements with scanning tunneling microscope (STM) that enables direct visualization of the presence of a localized Majorana zero mode. Experiments on self-assembled chains of Fe atoms on the surface of Pb show that such a system can be experimentally fabricated and studied using various high-resolution STM measurement techniques. Spatial and energy resolved STM experiments provide strong evidence for Majorana bound states that emerge due to the combination of Fe's ferromagnetism and spin-orbit coupling of the superconducting Pb substrate. These studies provide a roadmap for optimizing topological superconductivity in this one-dimensional platform and its extension to realize chiral two-dimensional superconductors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number014012
JournalPhysica Scripta
Issue numberT164
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015
Event156th Nobel Symposium on New Forms of Matter: Topological Insulators and Superconductors - Lidingo, Sweden
Duration: Jun 12 2014Jun 15 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Mathematical Physics


  • Majorana fermions
  • topological quantum states
  • topological superconductors


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