Superconducting proximity effect and majorana fermions at the surface of a topological insulator

Phys Rev Lett. 2008 Mar 7;100(9):096407. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.100.096407. Epub 2008 Mar 6.


We study the proximity effect between an s-wave superconductor and the surface states of a strong topological insulator. The resulting two-dimensional state resembles a spinless px+ipy superconductor, but does not break time reversal symmetry. This state supports Majorana bound states at vortices. We show that linear junctions between superconductors mediated by the topological insulator form a nonchiral one-dimensional wire for Majorana fermions, and that circuits formed from these junctions provide a method for creating, manipulating, and fusing Majorana bound states.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.