TU Delft is conducting its own Scientific Integrity Committee investigating the study, which was conducted under the supervision of physicist Leo Kouwenhoven. The committee asked four international experts to look into the matter. The experts concluded that the Delft team chose the data that matched what they were looking for. In addition, they deleted data that did not fit the conclusions. No evidence of intent was found and hence fraud was found. Perhaps the authors were “preoccupied with the excitement of the moment” and thus did not have “sufficient interest” in the other data.
Computers today operate on bits, which are either 0 or 1. Quantum technology is based on qubits, which are 0 and 1 simultaneously. This makes it faster and more powerful than today’s fastest computers. Majorana particles by Quinnhoven and his team could have formed the basis for this technique. But until now, particles only exist in theory, they are one of the most mysterious parts of physics.
TU Delft is conducting research on quantum technology with Microsoft. This research is ongoing, but the University Board cannot yet anticipate changes to the exact way of working. A full investigation must first be completed by the Integrity Commission. It is not yet known if the withdrawal will affect Kouwenhoven’s appointment to TU Delft. “Obviously, the retraction of the article represents a setback in Majorana’s research in quantum computer development. Thinking about the methods used should now happen within the scientific community,” says director Levin Vandersepin of QuTech’s Delft Research Institute.