Observation of a Majorana zero mode in a topologically protected edge channel

Superconducting proximity pairing in helical edge modes, such as those of topological insulators, is predicted to provide a unique platform for realizing Majorana zero modes (MZMs). We used scanning tunneling microscopy measurements to probe the influence of proximity-induced superconductivity and magnetism on the helical hinge states of bismuth(111) films grown on a superconducting niobium substrate and decorated with magnetic iron clusters. Consistent with model calculations, our measurements revealed the emergence of a localized MZM at the interface between the superconducting helical edge channel and the iron clusters, with a strong magnetization component along the edge. Our experiments also resolve the MZM’s spin signature, which distinguishes it from trivial in-gap states that may accidentally occur at zero energy in a superconductor. 

 


 


Topological edge channels on Bi thin film

Topological edge channels on Bi thin film

B. Jäck, Y. Xie, J. Li, S. Jeon, B. A. Bernevig, and A. Yazdani, "Observation of a Majorana zero mode in a topologically protected edge channel," Science 364,1255-1259 (2019). (Article)

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