CLEMSON – College of Science researcher Sumanta Tewari, an expert in theoretical condensed matter physics, has published a perspective article in Science describing current research on a novel quantum particle with applications for quantum computing.

Tewari portrait

Physics professor Sumanta Tewari
Image Credit: Courtesy of Sumanta Tewari

Tewari’s collaborative article titled “Majorana fermions go for a ride” appeared in Science on Jan. 2. West Virginia professor Tudor D. Stanescu was co-author.

Science is one of the most prestigious academic journals in the world with a subscriber base of more than 130,000.

Tewari is widely recognized for his work on a new type of quantum particle called Majorana fermions, which someday could be used to build a fault tolerant quantum computer. Majorana fermions are the only known particles that are also their own antiparticles, making them a possible candidate for qubits, the basic element of a quantum computer.

In 2010, Tewari and a colleague proposed a semiconductor-superconductor heterostructure as a way to experimentally realize Majorana fermions. Today, Tewari’s system is the most widely studied system for research on Majorana fermions.

“A number of experimental groups worldwide have already published data supporting the existence of Majorana fermions in our platform, although a definitive ‘smoking gun’ proof is still lacking,” said Tewari, a professor in the department of physics and astronomy.

When a group of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reported new experimental data supporting the existence of Majorana fermions in another system (an iron-based superconductor), the editors of Science reached out to Tewari because of his expertise in the field.

In the article, Tewari describes the Illinois team’s work as opening a new chapter in the field of iron-based superconductors and says it represents a substantial step in the quest for Majorana fermions in condensed-matter systems and an important development for quantum technology.

“A quantum computer would lead to revolutionary changes in electronics and will ultimately affect the lives of everyone the way an ordinary ‘classical’ computer does,” Tewari said.