January 21, 2021

Mihir Pendharkar

Mihir Pendharkar received his PhD in Electrical & Computer Engineering from University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) in 2019. His PhD research in the Chris Palmstrøm group at UCSB focused on MBE growth of low dimensional narrow band gap III-V semiconductors (quantum wires and wells) and superconductors for applications in topological quantum computation.

Mihir has received many awards, among them being UCSB’s University Award of Distinction (2018), Ovshinsky Student Award from the American Physical Society’s Division of Materials Physics (2018), Young Scientist Award from the Conference on Physics & Chemistry of Surfaces & Interfaces (PCSI) (2018) and most recently the Bloch Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Q-FARM Institute at Stanford (2021).

Pendharkar’s PhD thesis was based on the device heterostructure design, MBE growth and preliminary low temperature electrical characterization of superconductor-semiconductor hybrid systems hosting predicted Majorana Zero Modes (MZMs). Majorana fermions are a unique class of particles which are their own anti-particles. This concept is realized in MZMs, which are quasi-particles bound to zero energy, with no measurable charge and mass. These quasi-particles are predicted to exhibit non-abelian braiding statistics, allowing them to “remember” whether they were moved clockwise or counterclockwise around each other, forming a braid in time and position. Being their own anti-particles, fusion or annihilation of a pair of MZMs is expected to lead to a different outcome based on how they were braided, making a pair of MZMs the simplest quantum bit or ‘qubit’, forming the basis of topological quantum computation. Pendharkar’s PhD thesis focuses on addressing some of the materials aspects of this challenge.

Mihir’s research interests focus on growth of low-dimensional topological materials and in-vacuo fabrication of device heterostructures. Starting March 2021, Mihir is a Bloch Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University.

Photo sources: Mihir Pendharkar