Majorana fermions and non-Abelian statistics in three dimensions

Phys Rev Lett. 2010 Jan 29;104(4):046401. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.104.046401. Epub 2010 Jan 25.


We show that three dimensional superconductors, described within a Bogoliubov-de Gennes framework, can have zero energy bound states associated with pointlike topological defects. The Majorana fermions associated with these modes have non-Abelian exchange statistics, despite the fact that the braid group is trivial in three dimensions. This can occur because the defects are associated with an orientation that can undergo topologically nontrivial rotations. A feature of three dimensional systems is that there are "braidless" operations in which it is possible to manipulate the ground state associated with a set of defects without moving or measuring them. To illustrate these effects, we analyze specific architectures involving topological insulators and superconductors.