Experimental detection of a Majorana mode in the core of a magnetic vortex inside a topological insulator-superconductor Bi2Te3/NbSe2 heterostructure

Jin Peng Xu, Mei Xiao Wang, Zhi Long Liu, Jian Feng Ge, Xiaojun Yang, Canhua Liu, Zhu An Xu, Dandan Guan, Chun Lei Gao, Dong Qian, Ying Liu, Qiang Hua Wang, Fu Chun Zhang, Qi Kun Xue, Jin Feng Jia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

233 Scopus citations

Abstract

Majorana fermions have been intensively studied in recent years for their importance to both fundamental science and potential applications in topological quantum computing. They are predicted to exist in a vortex core of superconducting topological insulators. However, it is extremely difficult to distinguish them experimentally from other quasiparticle states for the tiny energy difference between Majorana fermions and these states, which is beyond the energy resolution of most available techniques. Here, we circumvent the problem by systematically investigating the spatial profile of the Majorana mode and the bound quasiparticle states within a vortex in Bi2Te3 films grown on a superconductor NbSe2. While the zero bias peak in local conductance splits right off the vortex center in conventional superconductors, it splits off at a finite distance ∼20nm away from the vortex center in Bi2Te3. This unusual splitting behavior has never been observed before and could be possibly due to the Majorana fermion zero mode. While the Majorana mode is destroyed by the interaction between vortices, the zero bias peak splits as a conventional superconductor again. This work provides self-consistent evidences of Majorana fermions and also suggests a possible route to manipulating them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number017001
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume114
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 7 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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    Xu, J. P., Wang, M. X., Liu, Z. L., Ge, J. F., Yang, X., Liu, C., Xu, Z. A., Guan, D., Gao, C. L., Qian, D., Liu, Y., Wang, Q. H., Zhang, F. C., Xue, Q. K., & Jia, J. F. (2015). Experimental detection of a Majorana mode in the core of a magnetic vortex inside a topological insulator-superconductor Bi2Te3/NbSe2 heterostructure. Physical Review Letters, 114(1), [017001]. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.114.017001