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Topological superconductivity in nanowires proximate to a diffusive superconductor–magnetic-insulator bilayer

Khindanov, Aleksei and Alicea, Jason and Lee, Patrick and Cole, William S. and Antipov, Andrey E. (2021) Topological superconductivity in nanowires proximate to a diffusive superconductor–magnetic-insulator bilayer. Physical Review B, 103 (13). Art. No. 134506. ISSN 2469-9950. doi:10.1103/physrevb.103.134506.

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We study semiconductor nanowires coupled to a bilayer of a disordered superconductor and a magnetic insulator, motivated by recent experiments reporting possible Majorana-zero-mode signatures in related architectures. Specifically, we pursue a quasiclassical Usadel equation approach that treats superconductivity in the bilayer self-consistently in the presence of spin-orbit scattering, magnetic-impurity scattering, and Zeeman splitting induced by both the magnetic insulator and a supplemental applied field. Within this framework we explore prospects for engineering topological superconductivity in a nanowire proximate to the bilayer. We find that a magnetic-insulator-induced Zeeman splitting, mediated through the superconductor alone, cannot induce a topological phase since the destruction of superconductivity (i.e., Clogston limit) preempts the required regime in which the nanowire's Zeeman energy exceeds the induced pairing strength. However, this Zeeman splitting does reduce the critical applied field needed to access the topological phase transition, with fields antiparallel to the magnetization of the magnetic insulator having an optimal effect. Finally, we show that magnetic-impurity scattering degrades the topological phase, and spin-orbit scattering, if present in the superconductor, pushes the Clogston limit to higher fields yet simultaneously increases the critical applied field strength.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Khindanov, Aleksei0000-0003-4101-0259
Alicea, Jason0000-0001-9979-3423
Antipov, Andrey E.0000-0002-4987-7183
Additional Information:© 2021 American Physical Society. Received 15 January 2021; revised 5 March 2021; accepted 8 March 2021; published 7 April 2021. We thank Bela Bauer, Roman Lutchyn, Saulius Vaitiekėnas, Charles M. Marcus, Chun-Xiao Liu, Michael Wimmer, and Chetan Nayak for useful discussions. A.K. also thanks Matthew P. A. Fisher and Andrea F. Young for valuable comments. P.A.L. acknowledges support from the NSF C-Accel Track C Grant No. 2040620. J.A.'s work was supported by Army Research Office under Grant Award No. W911NF17-1-0323; the National Science Foundation through Grant No. DMR-1723367; the Caltech Institute for Quantum Information and Matter, an NSF Physics Frontiers Center with support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through Grant No. GBMF1250; and the Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics at Caltech. The final stage of this work was in part based on support by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science through the Quantum Science Center (QSC), a National Quantum Information Science Research Center. A.K.'s work was supported by Microsoft corporation. Use was made of computational facilities purchased with funds from the National Science Foundation (Grant No. CNS-1725797) and administered by the Center for Scientific Computing (CSC). The CSC is supported by the California NanoSystems Institute and the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC; Grant No. NSF DMR 1720256) at UC Santa Barbara.
Group:Institute for Quantum Information and Matter, Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Army Research Office (ARO)W911NF17-1-0323
Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM)UNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationGBMF1250
Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics, CaltechUNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)UNSPECIFIED
Microsoft CorporationUNSPECIFIED
California NanoSystems InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:13
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210421-103423569
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108784
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:21 Apr 2021 19:15
Last Modified:21 Apr 2021 19:15

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