On your wavelength

Interactions: Alexander Whiticar

Alexander is a PhD student at the Center for Quantum Devices at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, and works on realizing topological states of matter in hybrid two-dimensional superconductor-semiconductor heterostructures. His primary research interest is observing Majorana zero modes in hybrid quantum dot geometries (Majorana islands). He won a Nature Reviews Physics poster prize at the Quantum Designer Physics conference in San Sebastian last June.


Can you briefly explain the results for which you got the award? 

The results that led to my award are based on observing phase coherent single-electron transport in a hybrid quantum dot interferometer in the presence of a discrete zero energy mode. This is of interest because Majorana zero modes are expected to allow for coherent single-electron transport due to their non-local properties.

What do you hope will be the impact of your research?

Many of the recent topological quantum bit (qubit) proposals rely on interferometric measurements as a form of read-out of the quantum state. Our results indicate that indeed this is possible. Furthermore, it is necessary that hybrid quantum dots preserve phase coherence for them to act as coherent links between qubits, which we have also demonstrated. I believe our research will aid in the design of future topological qubits based on Majorana islands.

What made you want to be a physicist in the first place?

Physics has always appealed to me because it not only has the ability to give detailed descriptions of our nature but also asks many fundamental questions yet to be answered.

If you weren’t a physicist, what would you like to be (and why)?

It is a difficult question to ask what could replace physics in my life. I would find it interesting to research the history of science, or to report on new scientific discoveries.

Which is the development that you would really like to see in the next 10 years?

I am eager to see the development of an inexpensive clean energy source that would allow for a global transition away from fossil fuels.

What Sci-Fi gadget or technology would you most like to have / see come true (and why)?

The ability to travel at the speed of light so we could discover many new wonders about our universe.



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