Westlake News PEOPLE

Jian LI publishes his latest research on topological superconductors in Science

16, 2019

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On 13 June 2019, a paper titled Observation of a Majorana zero mode in a topologically protected edge channel was published in the world-renowned academic journal Science.


The co-first authors of this paper are Berthold Jäck, a postdoc at Princeton University, Dr Yonglong XIE from Princeton and Jian LI, a research fellow of the School of Science, Westlake University. Professor Ali Yazdani from the Department of Physics, Princeton, is the corresponding author. This paper is Jian LI’s second contribution to Science as a co-first author since he joined Westlake University.

The publication reports a new methodology to control Majorana zero mode in a more reliable manner. This method combines a superconductor with a unique material called a topological insulator, which protects Majorana zero mode from heat and vibration and makes it more resilient to interference. More importantly, this publication also demonstrates a method to use a micro magnet as a “switch” to control the Majorana zero mode. This marks a new step forward in research into topological superconductors and topological quantum computing.


Jian LI joined Westlake University (formerly Westlake Institute for Advanced Study) as a full-time faculty member in March 2017. He started to work on this publication in the second half of 2017. His major theoretical contributions to this research include analysis of experimental data, and the establishment and calculation of the theoretical model. The research team is from Princeton University.


“We started our collaboration in 2013,” Jian LI said. “By working with Ali Yazdani’s team, I gained many valuable insights about physics and experimental study, as well as quality work.”


Prior to this, in November 2017, Jian LI worked with Professor Yazdani and his team at Princeton’s Department of Physics and Professor Andrei Bernevig, and published Distinguishing a Majorana zero mode using spin resolved measurements in Science,a paper that discusses the observation data of the Majorana zero mode under the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) and its unique self-spinning attributes.


Jian LI was born in 1981 in Wuhan, Hubei province. He received his bachelor’s degree from Northwest University, China, in 2002, and secured his position at the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, due to his academic excellence. In 2004, he transferred to Hong Kong University, where he obtained his PhD in Physics in 2008. He joined the group of Markus Buttiker at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, as a postdoctoral assistant in 2008, and then B. Andrei Bernevig’s group at Princeton as a postdoctoral research fellow in 2013. He was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Physics at Princeton University from 2013 to 2016. On 10 December 2016, Jian LI officially joined Westlake Institute for Advanced Study (WIAS) as a research fellow in Westlake’s School of Science and the Institute for Natural Sciences.