Quantum researchers from Delft acknowledge error in research into Majorana particles

Researchers at QuTech and Microsoft acknowledge processing errors in their quantum research on Majorana particles and have formally withdrawn them. The team recognized earlier this year that there was uncertainty about the research results.

In a retraction note on Nature the researchers acknowledge that they made mistakes during the investigation. In their own words, the quantum researchers can no longer claim that they have observed Majorana quasiparticles. The researchers reported back in February that there are uncertainties about the original 2018 study, and then reported that the report would be withdrawn. The team then published a new report in which the scientists stated that there were several issues have come up.

The researchers now address these issues. These were suggested by Sergey Frolov and Vincent Mourik, who pointed out to the team ‘various inconsistencies’ between the raw measurement data and the results in the research report. The researchers then re-examined the data and concluded that the results of the study were ‘unnecessarily corrected’.

The team also reports that a “new calibration of the conductivity” has shifted the original peak values, a review of the experiment revealed. The original observations have therefore turned out to be incorrect. “We apologize to the community for the lack of scientific rigor in our original manuscript,” the team writes. The raw data from the Majorana research is now also available made public.

QuTech, the research center for quantum technology at the TU Delft and TNO, is in the running a statement know that the withdrawal of the research is a ‘setback in Majorana research into the development of a quantum computer’. QuTech says it will continue to research Majorana quasi-particles and the collaboration with Microsoft will also be continued.

The original experiments from 2018 were performed on chips with a grid of a kind of nanohashtags of semiconducting, overlaid nanowires with a superconducting layer, in combination with two putative Majoranas in superposition at the ends of the chips. The researchers took certain electric and magnetic fields zero biaspeaks true, something that can only be explained by the presence of Majoranas.

The height of these peaks corresponded exactly to previous predictions, which, according to the researchers, was an important indication of the presence of such particles. These results have therefore been revised and withdrawn. The research was conducted by Dutch researcher Leo Kouwenhoven and his team at Microsoft and QuTech.

There had been doubts about research into Majorana particles for some time. Spoke in May 2020 Delta, the journalistic platform of TU Delft, has already raised doubts about the 2018 study, which claimed there was definitive evidence that the Majorana quasi particle exists. Delta then wrote about possible processing errors of the raw data. That has now been confirmed by the team of researchers.
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