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Research Highlight

Searching for Majorana Fermions in a-RuCl3 via Phonons

Searching for Majorana Fermions in a-RuCl3 via Phonons
Phonon dynamical structure factor of single crystal a-RuCl3 using (a) inelastic neutron scattering and (b) density functional theory.

Scientific Achievement

Phonons in a-RuCl3 that either propagate or vibrate in the out-of-plane direction exhibit significantly reduced velocities and therefore have the potential to dominate observability of the elusive half-integer plateau in the thermal Hall conductance.

Significance and Impact

The vibrational excitation spectrum (phonon structure) of a-RuCl3 was investigated via inelastic neutron scattering experiments and density functional theory calculations, which showed excellent agreement.

Research Details

  • Presented comprehensive measurement of the space group for a-RuCl3 using neutron diffraction
  • Developed novel strategy for resolving interlayer structure of quasi 2D materials via inelastic neutron scattering against phonons and explained why Majorana fermions in a-RuCl3  are sensitive to interlayer structure


Mu, Sai, Dixit, Kiranmayi D., Wang, Xiaoping, Abernathy, Douglas L., Cao, Huibo, Nagler, Stephen E., Yan, Jiaqiang, Lampen-Kelley, Paula, Mandrus, David, Polanco, Carlos A., Liang, Liangbo, Halász, Gábor B., Cheng, Yongqiang, Banerjee, Arnab, and Berlijn, Tom, "Role of the third dimension in searching for Majorana fermions in α − RuCl 3 via phonons"