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Majorana Strikes Back

Fri., Dec. 9, 2016 3:00 p.m. - Fri., Dec. 9, 2016 3:00 p.m.

Location: CL 130

Abstract: In the past several years, there has been a burst of theoretical and experimental activities in the brand-new field of topological insulators and superconductors. One of the consequences of the topological behaviour in these materials that makes this field significant is the possible existence of Majorana fermions as elementary excitations. Majorana fermions -- charge- neutral particles which are their own antiparticles and obey the non-Abelian exchange statistics -- have long been sought after in the area of high-energy physics, yet remain elusive to this day. Thus, creating and controlling Majorana fermions in condensed matter systems will not only be a breakthrough in fundamental physics, but also potentially lead to realisation of scalable, fault- tolerant topological quantum computation. In this talk, I will introduce the concept of topology that governs material properties and discuss our recent work on the vortex lattice in a two- dimensional topological superconductor -- one of the most promising models proposed so far for platforms to realise topological quantum computation.

Speaker: Kaori Tanaka obtained her B.Sc. at Tokyo Science University and M.Sc. at McMaster University, both specialized in theoretical elementary particle physics. She continued working with Prof. Rajat Bhaduri at McMaster University and acquired Ph.D. in quantum chaos and semiclassical physics. She spent a year as a postdoctoral research fellow in the same research area at Universitaet Regensburg in Germany and two years as a research associate at University of Alberta, before joining the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics at University of Saskatchewan as a faculty member. It was during the time at University of Alberta that she finally saw the light and switched to theoretical condensed matter physics, in particular, superconductivity and strongly correlated electron systems, utilising high-performance and parallel computation.