Topological defects in active nematics can behave as Majorana quasiparticles

Aula Multimediale (Dipartimento di Fisica)

Aula Multimediale

Dipartimento di Fisica


Speaker: Giuseppe Negro


Quasiparticles are low-energy excitations with important roles in condensed matter physics. An intriguing example is provided by Majorana fermions, quasiparticles which are identical to their antiparticles.  We propose a purely classical realisation of Majorana fermions, in terms of 3-dimensional disinclination lines in active nematics. Activity is required to overcome the elastic cost associated with these excitations, so they can appear in steady state. We combine topology and simulations to show that active nematics under confinement spontaneously create in their interior topologically charged disclination lines and loops, akin to Majorana quasiparticles with finite momentum. Within an elongated channel, we find a phenomenology similar to that of the Kitaev chain, as local Majorana-like excitations appear near surfaces, while a non-local system-spanning helical disclination line can arise along the centre. In unconfined active turbulence, Majorana-like charged loops are instead exceedingly rare, suggesting that boundaries are crucial to generate these quasiparticles, as in quantum condensed matter. We suggest that 3-dimensional active disclinations can be used to probe the physics of Majorana spinors at a much larger scale than traditionally considered, potentially facilitating the experimental observation of their dynamics.


    • 3:15 PM 3:30 PM
      Welcome coffee 15m
    • 3:30 PM 4:30 PM
      Topological defects in active nematics can behave as Majorana quasiparticles 1h
      Speaker: Giuseppe Negro (Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare)