Quench dynamics and parity blocking in Majorana wires

Suraj Hegde, Vasudha Shivamoggi, Smitha Vishveshwara, Diptiman Sen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We theoretically explore quench dynamics in a finite-sized topological fermionic p-wave superconducting wire with the goal of demonstrating that topological order can have marked effects on such non-equilibrium dynamics. In the case studied here, topological order is reflected in the presence of two (nearly) isolated Majorana fermionic end bound modes together forming an electronic state that can be occupied or not, leading to two (nearly) degenerate ground States characterized by fermion parity. Our study begins with a characterization of the static properties of the finite-sized wire, including the behavior of the Majorana end modes and the form of the tunnel coupling between them; a transfer matrix approach to analytically determine the locations of the zero energy contours where this coupling vanishes; and a Pfaffian approach to map the ground state parity in the associated phase diagram. We next study the quench dynamics resulting from initializing the system in a topological ground state and then dynamically tuning one of the parameters of the Hamiltonian. For this, we develop a dynamic quantum many-body technique that invokes a Wick's theorem for Majorana fermions, vastly reducing the numerical effort given the exponentially large Hilbert space. We investigate the salient and detailed features of two dynamic quantities - the overlap between the time-evolved state and the instantaneous ground state (adiabatic fidelity) and the residual energy. When the parity of the instantaneous ground state flips successively with time, we find that the time-evolved state can dramatically switch back and forth between this state and an excited state even when the quenching is very slow, a phenomenon that we term 'parity blocking'. This parity blocking becomes prominently manifest as non-analytic jumps as a function of time in both dynamic quantities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number053036
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 22 2015


  • Majorana fermions
  • quench dynamics
  • topological superconductivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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