Engineered platforms for topological superconductivity and Majorana zero modes

Karsten Flensberg, Felix von Oppen, Ady Stern

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Among the major avenues that are being pursued for realizing quantum bits, the Majorana-based approach has been the most recent to be launched. It attempts to realize qubits that store quantum information in a topologically protected manner. The quantum information is protected by non-local storage in localized and well-separated Majorana zero modes, and manipulated by exploiting their non-abelian quantum statistics. Realizing these topological qubits is experimentally challenging, requiring superconductivity, helical electrons (created by spin–orbit coupling) and breaking of time-reversal symmetry to all cooperate in an uncomfortable alliance. Over the past decade, several candidate materials systems for realizing Majorana-based topological qubits have been explored, and there is accumulating, though still debated, evidence that zero modes are indeed being realized. This Review surveys the basic physical principles on which these approaches are based, the materials systems that are being developed and the current state of the field. We highlight both the progress that has been made and the challenges that still need to be overcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)944-958
Number of pages15
JournalNature reviews. Materials
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Biomaterials


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