Distinguishing a Majorana zero mode using spin resolved measurements

We use spin-polarized scanning tunneling microscopy to show that MZMs realized in self-assembled Fe chains on the surface of Pb have a spin polarization that exceeds that stemming from the magnetism of these chains. This feature is a direct consequence of the nonlocality of the Hilbert space of MZMs emerging from a topological band structure. Our study establishes spin polarization measurements as a diagnostic tool to distinguish topological MZMs from trivial in-gap states of a superconductor.


 

A magnetized scanning tunneling microscope tip probes the spin property of the quantum wave function of the Majorana fermion at the end of a chain of iron atoms on the surface of a superconductor made of lead.

A magnetized scanning tunneling microscope tip probes the spin property of the quantum wave function of the Majorana fermion at the end of a chain of iron atoms on the surface of a superconductor made of lead.

S. Jeon, Y. Xie, J. Li, Z. Wang, B. A. Bernevig, and A. Yazdani, “Distinguishing a Majorana zero mode using spin resolved measurements,” Science 358, 772 (2017). (Article)

Research at Princeton article