Hybrid semiconductor-superconductor nanowires have emerged as a promising platform for realizing topological superconductivity (TSC). Here, we present a route to TSC using magnetic flux applied to a full superconducting shell surrounding a semiconducting nanowire core. Tunneling into the core reveals a hard induced gap near zero applied flux, corresponding to zero phase winding, and a gapped region with a discrete zero-energy state around one applied flux quantum, corresponding to 2π phase winding. Theoretical analysis indicates that the winding of the superconducting phase can induce a transition to a topological phase supporting Majorana zero modes. Measured Coulomb blockade peak spacing around one flux quantum shows a length dependence that is consistent with the existence of Majorana modes at the ends of the nanowire.
Improving materials used to make qubits is crucial to further progress in quantum information processing. Of particular interest are semiconductor-superconductor heterostructures that are expected to form the basis of topological quantum computing. We grew semiconductor indium antimonide nanowires that were coated with shells of tin of uniform thickness. No interdiffusion was observed at the interface between Sn and InSb. Tunnel junctions were prepared by in situ shadowing. Despite the lack of lattice matching between Sn and InSb, a 15-nanometer-thick shell of tin was found to induce a hard superconducting gap, with superconductivity persisting in magnetic field up to 4 teslas. A small island of Sn-InSb exhibits the two-electron charging effect. These findings suggest a less restrictive approach to fabricating superconducting and topological quantum circuits.
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Page Range or eLocation-ID:
- p. 508-511
- American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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