Majorana fermions are predicted to localize at the edge of a topological superconductor, a state of matter that can form when a ferromagnetic system is placed in proximity to a conventional superconductor with strong spin-orbit interaction. With the goal of realizing a one-dimensional topological superconductor, we have fabricated ferromagnetic iron (Fe) atomic chains on the surface of superconducting lead (Pb). Using high-resolution spectroscopic imaging techniques, we show that the onset of superconductivity, which gaps the electronic density of states in the bulk of the Fe chains, is accompanied by the appearance of zero energy end states. This spatially resolved signature provides strong evidence, corroborated by other observations, for the formation of a topological phase and edge-bound Majorana fermions in our atomic chains.
"Observation of Majorana Fermions in Ferromagnetic Atomic Chains on a Superconductor," S. Nadj-Perge, I. K. Drozdov, J. Li, H. Chen, S. Jeon, J. Seo, A. H. MacDonald, B. A. Bernevig, and A. Yazdani, Science 346, 6209 (2014). (Article)