Photon-assisted tunnelling of zero modes in a Majorana wire

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Majorana bound states at the end of nanowires may be used for quantum computation if they can be coupled sufficiently strongly. Here, the Copenhagen lab show strong and tunable coupling, a step along the road towards devices.

Hybrid nanowires with proximity-induced superconductivity in the topological regime host Majorana zero modes at their ends. Networks of such structures can produce topologically protected qubits where the fundamental energy scale is given by the inter-pair coupling E-M between the zero modes belonging to different wire segments. Here we report on the spectroscopic measurement of E-M in an InAs/Al double-island device by tracking the position of the microwave-induced quasiparticle excitations using a radiofrequency charge sensor. At zero magnetic field, photon-assisted tunnelling of Cooper pairs allows us to estimate the Josephson coupling between the islands. In the presence of a magnetic field aligned along the nanowire, we observe the 1e periodic excitation spectrum resulting from a zero-energy subgap state that emerges in a magnetic field. The discrete 1e periodic excitation spectrum is consistent with the coherent hybridization of single-electron states belonging to two opposite-parity branches. The dependence of excitation frequency on detuning indicates a sizable (GHz-scale) and controllable hybridization of zero modes across the junction separating islands, a requirement for applications related to Majorana-based qubits.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Physics
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)663-668
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2020

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