Nature Communications

Observing and braiding topological Majorana modes on programmable quantum simulators

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Electrons are indivisible elementary particles, yet paradoxically a collection of them can act as a fraction of a single electron, exhibiting exotic and useful properties. One such collective excitation, known as a topological Majorana mode, is naturally stable against perturbations, such as unwanted local noise, and can thereby robustly store quantum information. As such, Majorana modes serve as the basic primitive of topological quantum computing, providing resilience to errors. However, their demonstration on quantum hardware has remained elusive. Here, we demonstrate a verifiable identification and braiding of topological Majorana modes using a superconducting quantum processor as a quantum simulator. By simulating fermions on a one-dimensional lattice subject to a periodic drive, we confirm the existence of Majorana modes localized at the edges, and distinguish them from other trivial modes. To simulate a basic logical operation of topological quantum computing known as braiding, we propose a non-adiabatic technique, whose implementation reveals correct braiding statistics in our experiments. This work could further be used to study topological models of matter using circuit-based simulations, and shows that long-sought quantum phenomena can be realized by anyone in cloud-run quantum simulations, whereby accelerating fundamental discoveries in quantum science and technology.


21 Apr 2023


Nature Communications