Bound States of a Ferromagnetic Wire in a Superconductor

Phys Rev Lett. 2015 Sep 18;115(12):127003. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.127003. Epub 2015 Sep 18.


We consider the problem of bound states in strongly anisotropic ferromagnetic impurities in a superconductor, motivated by recent experiments that claim to observe Majorana modes at the ends of ferromagnetic wires on a superconducting substrate [S. Nadj-Perge et al., Science 346, 602 (2014)]. Generalizing the successful theory of bound states of spherically symmetric impurities, we consider a wirelike potential using both analytical and numerical approaches. We find that away from the ends of the wire the bound states form bands with pronounced van Hove singularities, giving rise to subgap peaks in the local density of states. For sufficiently strong magnetization of the wire, we show that this process generically produces a sharp peak at zero energy in the local density of states near the ends of the wire. This zero-energy peak has qualitative similarities to the claimed signature of a Majorana mode observed in the aforementioned experiment.