###### Science & Technology

## Majorana Zero Modes

- 12 Jul 2023
- 7 min read

**For Prelims: Majorana Zero Modes, Quantum Computing, Qubits, Supercomputer, Antiparticle, Fermions, Positrons, Neutrinos. **

**For Mains:** Majorana Zero Modes and its potential advantages in Quantum Computing.

### Why in News?

Recently, Microsoft researchers announced a significant breakthrough in the creation of **Majorana Zero Modes**, a type of particle with potential implications for revolutionizing quantum computing.

- Microsoft researchers engineered a topological superconductor composed of an aluminium
**Superconductor**and an indium arsenide**Semiconductor.** - Their device passed a stringent protocol, including measurements and simulations,
**indicating a high probability of hosting Majorana zero modes.** - The topological gap protocol and observation of the conductance peak are considered strong evidence for Majorana zero modes.

### What are Majorana Zero Modes?

**Majorana Fermions:**- All subatomic particles that
**make up matter are called fermions.** - In 1928, physicist Paul Dirac developed the
**Dirac equation to understand how quantum mechanics**and the special theory of relativity could coexist.- The Dirac equation described the behaviour of subatomic particles that moved at
**near the speed of light.**

- The Dirac equation described the behaviour of subatomic particles that moved at
- This equation predicted the
**existence of antiparticles for each particle,**leading to the discovery of the first antiparticle, the positron (or the anti-electron) in 1932. - In 1937, physicist Ettore Majorana found that the Dirac equation allowed for particles that satisfied
**certain conditions to be their own antiparticles**to be their own antiparticles. - In his honour, fermions that are
**their own antiparticles are called Majorana fermions.**- Neutrinos are one type of particle that physicists believe could be
**Majorana fermions,**although experimental proof is still lacking.

- Neutrinos are one type of particle that physicists believe could be

- All subatomic particles that
**Majorana Zero Modes:**- Fermions possess four quantum numbers, with one of them being quantum spin, which only has half-integer values.
- Bound states of fermions that are their own antiparticles are called
**Majorana zero modes.** - Majorana zero modes have been a subject of research for over two decades.
- Their unique characteristics make them
**promising for topological quantum computing.**

### What can be the Potential Advantages of Majorana Zero Modes in Computing?

- Majorana zero modes possess unique properties that
**make Quantum Computers more robust and computationally superior.**Quantum computers currently use individual electrons as qubits, but they are fragile and susceptible to decoherence. - Majorana zero modes, composed of an electron and a hole, can be used as
**more stable qubits.** - Even if one of the entities is disturbed, the
**overall qubit does not decohere, protecting the encoded information.** - Majorana zero modes offer
**topological degeneracy,**allowing for the storage and retrieval of information from different topological properties, without easily losing the encoded information.- Topology is the study of those properties of matter that
**don’t change when it undergoes continuous deformation**– i.e., when it’s stretched, folded, twisted, etc., but not ruptured or glued to itself.

- Topology is the study of those properties of matter that

### What is Quantum Computing?

- Quantum computing uses
**phenomena in quantum physics**to create new ways of computing.- Quantum physics explains the behavior of energy and material on the atomic and subatomic levels.

- Quantum computing involves
**qubits.**Unlike a normal computer bit, which can be either 0 or 1, a**qubit can exist in a multidimensional state.** - The power of quantum computers
**grows exponentially with more qubits.**- Classical computers that add more
**bits can increase power only linearly.**

- Classical computers that add more
- Quantum computing has the capability to sift through huge numbers of possibilities and extract
**potential solutions to complex problems**and challenges. - The basic properties of quantum computing are superposition, entanglement, and interference.
**Superposition:**- It is the ability of a quantum system to be in multiple states simultaneously.
- The example of superposition is the flip of a coin, which consistently lands as heads or tails—a very binary concept. However, when that coin is in mid-air, it is both heads and tails and until it lands, heads and tails simultaneously. Before measurement, the electron exists in quantum superposition.

- Entanglement:
- It means the two members of a pair (Qubits) exist in a single quantum state. Changing the state of one of the qubits will instantaneously change the state of the other one in a predictable way. This happens even if they are separated by very long distances.
- Einstein called spooky ‘action at a distance’.

- Interference:
- Quantum interference states that elementary particles(Qubits) can not only be in more than one place at any given time (through superposition), but that an individual particle, such as a photon (light particles) can cross its own trajectory and interfere with the direction of its path.

### UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)

*Prelims *

**Q. Which one of the following is the context in which the term "qubit" is mentioned? **

(a) Cloud Services

(b) Quantum Computing

(c) Visible Light Communication Technologies

(d) Wireless Communication Technologies

**Ans: (b)**

**Exp: **

**Quantum Supremacy**- Quantum computers compute in ‘qubits’ (or quantum bits). They exploit the properties of quantum mechanics, the science that governs how matter behaves on the atomic scale.

**Hence, option (b) is correct.**