Christopher Reeg


Department of Physics
University of Basel
Klingelbergstrasse 82
CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland

email:view address

tel: +41 61 207 36 95

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1.  Transport signatures of topological superconductivity in a proximity-coupled nanowire
Christopher R. Reeg and Dmitrii L. Maslov.

We study the conductance of a junction between the normal and superconducting segments of a nanowire, both of which are subject to spin-orbit coupling and an external magnetic field. We directly compare the transport properties of the nanowire assuming two different models for the superconducting segment: one where we put superconductivity by hand into the wire, and one where superconductivity is induced through a tunneling junction with a bulk s-wave superconductor. While these two models are equivalent at low energies and at weak coupling between the nanowire and the superconductor, we show that there are several interesting qualitative differences away from these two limits. In particular, the tunneling model introduces an additional conductance peak at the energy corresponding to the bulk gap of the parent superconductor. By employing a combination of analytical methods at zero temperature and numerical methods at finite temperature, we show that the tunneling model of the proximity effect reproduces many more of the qualitative features that are seen experimentally in such a nanowire system.

2.  Destructive interference of direct and crossed Andreev pairing in a system of two nanowires coupled via an s-wave superconductor
Christopher R. Reeg, Jelena Klinovaja, and Daniel Loss.

We consider a system of two one-dimensional nanowires coupled via an s-wave superconducting strip, a geometry that is capable of supporting Kramers pairs of Majorana fermions. By performing an exact analytical diagonalization of a tunneling Hamiltonian describing the proximity effect (via a Bogoliubov transformation), we show that the excitation gap of the system varies periodically on the scale of the Fermi wavelength in the limit where the interwire separation is shorter than the superconducting coherence length. Comparing with the excitation gaps in similar geometries containing only direct pairing, where one wire is decoupled from the superconductor, or only crossed Andreev pairing, where each nanowire is considered as a spin-polarized edge of a quantum Hall state, we find that the gap is always reduced, by orders of magnitude in certain cases, when both types of pairing are present. Our analytical results are further supported by numerical calculations on a tight-binding lattice. Finally, we show that treating the proximity effect by integrating out the superconductor cannot reproduce the results of our exact diagonalization.

3.  Hard superconducting gap in a normal layer coupled to a superconductor
Christopher R. Reeg and Dmitrii L. Maslov.
Phys. Rev. B 94, 020501(R) (2016)

The ability to induce a sizable gap in the excitation spectrum of a normal layer placed in contact with a conventional superconductor has become increasingly important in recent years in the context of engineering a topological superconductor. The quasiclassical theory of the proximity effect shows that Andreev reflection at the superconductor/normal interface induces a nonzero pairing amplitude in the metal but does not endow it with a gap. Conversely, when the normal layer is atomically thin, the tunneling of Cooper pairs induces an excitation gap that can be as large as the bulk gap of the superconductor. We study how these two seemingly different views of the proximity effect evolve into one another as the thickness of the normal layer is changed. We show that a fully quantum-mechanical treatment of the problem predicts that the induced gap is always finite but falls off with the thickness of the normal layer $d$. If $d$ is less than a certain crossover scale, which is much larger than the Fermi wavelength, the induced gap is comparable to the bulk gap. As a result, a sizable excitation gap can be induced in normal layers that are much thicker than the Fermi wavelength.

4.  Proximity-induced triplet superconductivity in Rashba materials
Christopher R. Reeg and Dmitrii L. Maslov.
Phys. Rev. B 92, 134512 (2015)

We study a proximity junction between a conventional s-wave superconductor and a conductor with Rashba spin-orbit coupling, with a specific focus on the spin structure of the induced pairing amplitude. We find that spin-triplet pairing correlations are induced by spin-orbit coupling in both one- and two-dimensional systems due to the lifted spin degeneracy. Additionally, this induced triplet pairing has a component with an odd frequency dependence that is robust to disorder. Our predictions are based on the solutions of the exact Gor'kov equations and are beyond the quasiclassical approximation.

5.  Zero-energy bound state at the interface between an s-wave superconductor and a disordered normal metal with repulsive electron-electron interactions
Christopher R. Reeg and Dmitrii L. Maslov.
Phys. Rev. B 90, 024502 (2014)

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in the proximity effect due to its role in the realization of topological superconductivity. Here, we study a superconductor–normal metal proximity system with repulsive electron-electron interactions in the normal layer. It is known that in the absence of disorder or normal reflection at the superconductor–normal metal interface, a zero-energy bound state forms and is localized to the interface [Fauchère et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 82, 3336 (1999).]. Using the quasiclassical theory of superconductivity, we investigate the low-energy behavior of the density of states in the presence of finite disorder and an interfacial barrier. We find that as the mean free path is decreased, the zero-energy peak in the density of states is broadened and reduced. In the quasiballistic limit, the bound state eliminates the minigap pertinent to a noninteracting normal layer and a distinct peak is observed. When the mean free path becomes comparable to the normal layer width, the zero-energy peak is strongly suppressed and the minigap begins to develop. In the diffusive limit, the minigap is fully restored and all signatures of the bound state are eliminated. We find that an interfacial potential barrier does not change the functional form of the density of states peak but does shift this peak away from zero energy.