Charles E. Kaufman Foundation

2018 New Initiative Grant

Jun Zhu, Ph.D. (PI) Associate Professor, Department of Physics, Pennsylvania State University

Chaoxing Liu, Ph.D. (co-investigator) Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, Pennsylvania State University

Direct Evidence for Non-Abelian Anyons in an Interferometer


The invention of silicon transistors and the integrated circuits has powered many aspects of the modern society in terms of computation, communication, connectivity, and the development of artificial intelligence. To go beyond the limit of Moore’s law requires drastically different paradigms underpinned by new physical mechanisms. Topological quantum computing is such a paradigm. In comparison to a classical computer operating with classical bits based on electron charges, topological quantum computing uses quantum bits (qubits) based upon an exotic class of quantum mechanical particles called non-Abeilain anyons. Their topological and non-local nature is predicted to help qubits maintain long quantum coherence time needed to execute quantum algorithms, which are expected to be vastly more efficient than classical computers in solving crucially important yet difficult mathematical problems such as integer factorization. Although predicted to exist in several material platforms, convincing experimental evidence of non-Abelian anyons has not been obtained. PI Zhu and Co-PI Liu will combine advanced nanofabrication and electrical transport measurement techniques and condensed matter and highenergy theoretical physics tools to explore the generation and detection of non-Abelian anyons in heterostructures of two-dimensional materials. The discovery of non-Abelian anyons will fundamentally enrich the theory of quantum mechanics and lay the foundation to the development of topological quantum computing.

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