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Title: Phase-induced topological superconductivity in a planar heterostructure

Topological superconductivity in quasi-one-dimensional systems is a novel phase of matter with possible implications for quantum computation. Despite years of effort, a definitive signature of this phase in experiments is still debated. A major cause of this ambiguity is the side effects of applying a magnetic field: induced in-gap states, vortices, and alignment issues. Here we propose a planar semiconductor–superconductor heterostructure as a platform for realizing topological superconductivity without applying a magnetic field to the two-dimensional electron gas hosting the topological state. Time-reversal symmetry is broken only by phase biasing the proximitizing superconductors, which can be achieved using extremely small fluxes or bias currents far from the quasi-one-dimensional channel. Our platform is based on interference between this phase biasing and the phase arising from strong spin–orbit coupling in closed electron trajectories. The principle is demonstrated analytically using a simple model, and then shown numerically for realistic devices. We show a robust topological phase diagram, as well as explicit wavefunctions of Majorana zero modes. We discuss experimental issues regarding the practical implementation of our proposal, establishing it as an accessible scheme with contemporary experimental techniques.

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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Article No. e2107377118
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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