Conversion of a conventional superconductor into a topological superconductor by topological proximity effect

C. X. Trang, N. Shimamura, K. Nakayama, S. Souma, K. Sugawara, I. Watanabe, K. Yamauchi, T. Oguchi, K. Segawa, T. Takahashi, Yoichi Ando, T. Sato

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37 Citations (Scopus)


Realization of topological superconductors (TSCs) hosting Majorana fermions is a central challenge in condensed-matter physics. One approach is to use the superconducting proximity effect (SPE) in heterostructures, where a topological insulator contacted with a superconductor hosts an effective p-wave pairing by the penetration of Cooper pairs across the interface. However, this approach suffers a difficulty in accessing the topological interface buried deep beneath the surface. Here, we propose an alternative approach to realize topological superconductivity without SPE. In a Pb(111) thin film grown on TlBiSe2, we discover that the Dirac-cone state of substrate TlBiSe2 migrates to the top surface of Pb film and obtains an energy gap below the superconducting transition temperature of Pb. This suggests that a Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer superconductor is converted into a TSC by the topological proximity effect. Our discovery opens a route to manipulate topological superconducting properties of materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number159
Number of pages6
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

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