The 2012 Newcomb Cleveland Prize  is awarded to Vincent Mourik, Kun Zuo, Sergey M. Frolov, Sébastien R. Plissard, Erik P. A. M. Bakkers, and Leo P. Kouwenhoven for the report “Signatures of Majorana Fermions in Hybrid Superconductor-Semiconductor Nanowire Devices” published in Science 25 May 2012, pp. 1003-1007.
This paper provides experimental evidence for the presence of an exotic quasiparticle, the Majorana fermion. These particles, different from bosons and normal fermions that make up all matter, are equal to their own antiparticles. Such particles had only been predicted mathematically. Mourik et al. engineered a nanostructure of a superconductor in contact with a semiconductor wire that, when placed in a strong magnetic field, showed several features consistent with that predicted for the elusive Majorana state. Their results and approach have generated numerous follow-on experiments and work, and their design could allow for the manipulation of Majorana states, which, if verified, could lead to new types of quantum computing and other applications.
For a complete listing of past Newcomb Cleveland Prize recipients, please see the AAAS Archives .
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