If you look at materials on the quantum level, you’ll find many strange effects. For example, you might find particles that don’t otherwise exist. We can call these quasiparticles.

Normal particles, like electrons, can go anywhere in the universe and they’ll still be electrons. But quasiparticles can’t leave their host material. This sounds like a restriction, but it actually allows the quasiparticles a lot of freedom. For example, if the material is flat enough, the quasiparticles no longer have to follow the rules of our 3D universe. They are allowed to have exotic properties reserved for particles that live in 2D.

One of the most well studied examples are Majoranas. Since 2010, there have been multiple experiments showing that they exist, mostly in superconductors. A recent one was done by a team (that included my boss) at the University of Basel. Wikipedia has a list with some other examples.

These experiments pretty much just looked at the Majoranas. But the really exiting properties come when you dance these strange particles around each other. This process, called braiding, was first realized in two experiments last year. One was done by me. The published version is here. But perhaps you’d prefer the free version

My 2D material of choice was a quantum error correcting code. This is something we can make in a quantum computer to help it fight noise. The quantum computer I used was one made by IBM. It isn’t very big or powerful, but I only need a small patch of quantum error correcting code. So it did what I needed.

The other one was done by my old boss. So I guess that was good too.

I’ve written a bunch of articles here on Medium, trying to explain what I did and why it matters. So if you want to know more, check out the following. The shortest ones are first.

Written by

Wrangler of qubits. Drinker of tea. Father.

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