Photo of Qinglin He

Nanotechnology & materials

Qinglin He

The march towards topological quantum computation

Year Honored


During the wee hours of July 21st 2017, Nature published a major discovery: 80 years after Ettore Majorana came out with the concept of Majorana Fermions, we have finally found evidence of its existence. The team behind this discovery is from Prof. Kang L. Wang’s lab from UCLA, and amongst them was postdoc researcher Qinglin He.

Physicists have long been exploring whether all particles have their matching antiparticles. In 1937, Italian theoretical physicist Ettore Majorana put forward a new prediction: particles including protons, neutrons, neutrinos and quarks themselves are their antiparticles. These particles are what we now call Majorana Fermions.

The concept of Majorana Fermions is significant for humans to build a stable and powerful topological quantum computer. This is because Majorana Fermions are equivalent to only half a traditional particle. In a parallel quantum world, a qubit can be stored on two distant Majorana Fermions. As a result, the occurrence of environmental noise causing decoherence, which would destroy the information stored in qubits, would be greatly reduced. Making topological quantum computers that far exceed existing supercomputers computers possible.

“Innovation, for me, is not completely independent work. One must take into account his own conditions and the characteristics of his team. Only when one considers innovation from this perspective, can he succeed.” Qinglin said.

As for the future, “Next we will conduct human intervention and manipulation of Majorana Fermions, which is the top priority for topological quantum computation.”