Majorana states in inhomogeneous spin ladders

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Date: 
2012-11-07
Author(s): 

F. L. Pedrocchi, S. Chesi, S. Gangadharaiah and D. Loss

Reference: 

Phys. Rev. B 86, 205412 (2012)

We propose an inhomogeneous open spin ladder, related to the Kitaev honeycomb model, which can be tuned between topological and nontopological phases. In extension of Lieb's theorem, we show numerically that the ground state of the spin ladder is either vortex free or vortex full. We study the robustness of Majorana end states (MES) which emerge at the boundary between sections in different topological phases and show that while the MES in the homogeneous ladder are destroyed by single-body perturbations, in the presence of inhomogeneities at least two-body perturbations are required to destabilize MES. Furthermore, we prove that x, y, or z inhomogeneous magnetic fields are not able to destroy the topological degeneracy. Finally, we present a trijunction setup where MES can be braided. A network of such spin ladders provides thus a promising platform for realization and manipulation of MES.