Motivated by recent experiments searching for Majorana fermions (MFs) in hybrid semiconducting-superconducting nanostructures, we consider a realistic tight-binding model and analyze its transport behavior numerically. In particular, we take into account the presence of a superconducting contact, used in real experiments to extract the current, which is usually not included in theoretical calculations. We show that important features emerge that are absent in simpler models, such as the shift in energy of the proximity gap signal, and the enhanced visibility of the topological gap for increased spin-orbit interaction. We find oscillations of the zero bias peak as a function of the magnetic field and study them analytically. We argue that many of the experimentally observed features hint at an actual spin-orbit interaction larger than the one typically assumed. However, even taking into account all the known ingredients of the experiments and exploring many parameter regimes for MFs, we are not able to reach full agreement with the reported data. Thus, a different physical origin for the observed zero-bias peak cannot be excluded.
- Received 24 July 2012
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