Transition from Fractional to Majorana Fermions in Rashba Nanowires

Jelena Klinovaja, Peter Stano, and Daniel Loss
Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 236801 – Published 5 December 2012
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Abstract

We study hybrid superconducting-semiconducting nanowires in the presence of Rashba spin-orbit interaction as well as helical magnetic fields. We show that the interplay between them leads to a competition of phases with two topological gaps closing and reopening, resulting in unexpected reentrance behavior. In addition to the topological phase with localized Majorana fermions (MFs) we find new phases characterized by fractionally charged fermion (FF) bound states of Jackiw-Rebbi type. The system can be fully gapped by the magnetic fields alone, giving rise to FFs that transmute into MFs upon turning on superconductivity. We find explicit analytical solutions for MF and FF bound states and determine the phase diagram numerically by determining the corresponding Wronskian null space. We show by renormalization group arguments that electron-electron interactions enhance the Zeeman gaps opened by the fields.

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  • Received 31 July 2012

DOI:https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.109.236801

© 2012 American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

Jelena Klinovaja1, Peter Stano1,2, and Daniel Loss1

  • 1Department of Physics, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 82, 4056 Basel, Switzerland
  • 2Institute of Physics, Slovak Academy of Sciences, 845 11 Bratislava, Slovakia

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Issue

Vol. 109, Iss. 23 — 7 December 2012

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Heating up of Superconductors
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This collection marks the 30th anniversary of the discovery of high-temperature superconductors. The papers selected highlight some of the advances that have been made to date, both in understanding why these compounds behave in the way they do, and in utilizing them in applications. The papers included in the collection have been made free to read.

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