AIMS South Africa 2010
Topological Insulators: High potential for future quantum electronics and computation
Since his graduation from AIMS, and with the support of a post-AIMS bursary, Prosper Ngabonziza, from Rwanda, undertook a Research Master’s in Experimental Physics at the University of Johannesburg where he graduated in 2012. He is currently doing his PhD in Experimental and Engineering Physics at the University of Twente, MESA and the Institute for Nanotechnology in the Netherlands.
“My interest is in the field of nanotechnology, focused on nanomaterials of unusual electronic properties and their interfaces, working specifically on a recently discovered material known as Topological Insulators.”
A topological insulator is a material with non-trivial topological order that behaves as an insulator in its interior but whose surface contains conducting states, meaning that electrons can only move along the surface of the material. When a topological insulator is interfaced with a superconductor, a mysterious particle called Majorana fermion emerges, which can be used to fabricate a quantum computer that will run faster than any current computer. Searching for Majorana fermions based on a topological insulator–superconductor interface has thus become a hot race as the world prepares for the Quantum Age. Topological insulators can be implemented in computer processing devices as well as in memory and storage devices. Prosper is at the forefront of research underway in this field. He is also a junior researcher at the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM) in Netherlands.
He was recently nominated by AIMS to attend the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting (2015) dedicated to physics, physiology or medicine and chemistry where he had a chance to network and build collaborations with Nobel laureates and more than 200 other young global leaders in science.