Research ArticlePHYSICS

Toward tailoring Majorana bound states in artificially constructed magnetic atom chains on elemental superconductors

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Science Advances  11 May 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 5, eaar5251
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aar5251


Realizing Majorana bound states (MBS) in condensed matter systems is a key challenge on the way toward topological quantum computing. As a promising platform, one-dimensional magnetic chains on conventional superconductors were theoretically predicted to host MBS at the chain ends. We demonstrate a novel approach to design of model-type atomic-scale systems for studying MBS using single-atom manipulation techniques. Our artificially constructed atomic Fe chains on a Re surface exhibit spin spiral states and a remarkable enhancement of the local density of states at zero energy being strongly localized at the chain ends. Moreover, the zero-energy modes at the chain ends are shown to emerge and become stabilized with increasing chain length. Tight-binding model calculations based on parameters obtained from ab initio calculations corroborate that the system resides in the topological phase. Our work opens new pathways to design MBS in atomic-scale hybrid structures as a basis for fault-tolerant topological quantum computing.

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