Akhmerov published one of his most important discoveries, the boundary condition for the Dirac equation in graphene, in the journal Physical Review B in 2008. In this publication he provided a mathematical description of the route electrons take at the edges of a piece of graphene. Scientists who work with this highly promising material can use this description in their research. This resulted in more than 100 citations and a chapter in the standard textbook about graphene by professor Katsnelson.
In the second part of the thesis, Akhmerov investigated the possibility of using topological superconductors for quantum computers. He described how Majorana fermions could be detected electronically in these superconducting materials with the help of his 'Dirac-to-Majorana converter'. As Majorana fermions are viewed as possible qubits, the research of Akhmerov is an important step towards a quantum computer. He is now working in this area with professor Leo Kouwenhoven, who earlier this year hit the headlines when he succeeded in experimentally demonstrating the existence of Majorana fermions.
Big Bang Theory
The jury states that the work presented in Akhmerov's thesis is of "an exceptionally high level in terms of both quality and quantity". He has published 29 articles and has now been cited 766 times. In addition to this the research is "particularly well presented, with a clear explanation of the future applicability of the findings". Akhmerov’s work has even penetrated many living rooms as one of his images is used in the popular American comedy show 'The Big Bang Theory'.