Jian Li

2016 Regional Award Winner — Post-Doc

Jian Li

Current Position:
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Princeton University

Condensed Matter Physics

Recognized for: Providing theoretical insight and guidance to the experimental studies leading to the direct observation of the Majorana fermions

Areas of Research Interest and Expertise: Topological phases, Majorana fermions, Mesoscopic transport


PhD, Physics,The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
BS, Physics, Northwest University, China

Jian Li’s research focuses on condensed matter systems that exhibit nontrivial topological electronic properties. In particular, he is interested in the physics of topological superconductivity and the associated Majorana quasi-particles, the latter being potentially useful to realize fault-tolerant quantum computing.

Dr. Li, working together with a team of experimentalists based at Princeton University, discovered Majorana quasi-particles in iron chains grown atop superconducting lead. They provided compelling evidence for the observation of these long-sought-after, esoteric particles with scanning tunneling microscopes. Dr. Li developed a theoretical framework for an in-depth understanding of the system involving aligned magnetic adatoms and conventional superconductors, and further established such a system as a new platform to engineer topological superconductivity not only in one dimension but also in higher dimensions. Based on this platform, Dr. Li and his collaborators have made proposals that will hopefully reveal one of the most fascinating features, namely nonabelian braiding statistics, of Majorana quasi-particles in the near future.

“Physics for me is about connecting elegant concepts encoded in equations to intricate signals produced in equipment. I strive to grasp the elegance, the intricacy, and the truth in-between.”

Key Publications: 

  1. Stevan Nadj-Perge, Ilya K. Drozdov, Jian Li, Hua Chen, Sangjun Jeon, Jungpil Seo, Allan H. MacDonald, B. Andrei Bernevig, Ali Yazdani. Observation of Majorana fermions in ferromagnetic atomic chains on a superconductor. Science. 2014
  2. Jian Li, Hua Chen, Ilya K. Drozdov, Ali Yazdani, B. Andrei Bernevig, Allan H. MacDonald. Topological superconductivity induced by ferromagnetic metal chains. Physical Review. 2014
  3. Jian Li, Titus Neupert, B. Andrei Bernevig, and Ali Yazdani. Manipulating Majorana zero modes on atomic rings with an external magnetic field. Nature Communications. 2016
  4. Jian Li, Titus Neupert, Zhijun Wang, A. H. MacDonald, Ali Yazdani, and B. Andrei Bernevig. Two-dimensional chiral topological superconductivity in Shiba lattices. Nature Communications. 2016

Other Honors:

2013-2015 Advanced Postdoctoral Mobility Fellowship, Swiss National Science Foundation