Professor Sergey Frolov receives CAREER Award

Professor Sergey Frolov has received an NSF CAREER Award which will support the discovery of a new type of quantum particle statistics. Particles that comprise our world at the microscopic scale are divided in two classes: fermions and bosons. They obey strange rules of quantum mechanics. For example, two electrons, which are fermions, cannot be at the same place at the same time, while for photons, which are bosons, this is perfectly allowed. This project will attempt to demonstrate a new, third class of particles called the non-abelian anyons. All electrons are indistinguishable, which means that our world looks exactly the same if two of them change their places. But if two non-abelian particles are interchanged the Universe transitions into a different state dictated by the laws of topology. The particular class of anyons that will be studied here are Majorana quasiparticles, which are their own antiparticles and can be created in nanoscale devices similar to transistors. The success of this proposal will lay a foundation for future topological quantum computation which relies on interchanging, or "braiding" of non-Abelian particles. The demonstration of non-Abelian particles will have an impact on science education at the basic textbook level and bring deeper awareness by the society at large of the fundamental laws governing the quantum world. The project will train a graduate student, which develop fundamental and practical skills such as nanofabrication and laboratory techniques at low temperatures. A new course on Quantum Transport aimed at graduate students and senior undergraduates will be developed with a special emphasis on topological effects. To aid in broad dissemination and sharing of scientific knowledge, websites for rapid discussions of new results, as well as for access to raw data and talks will be developed.