Competing Energy Scales in Topological Superconducting Heterostructures

Yunyi Zang, Felix Küster, Jibo Zhang, Defa Liu, Banabir Pal, Hakan Deniz, Paolo Sessi, Matthew J. Gilbert, Stuart S.P. Parkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Artificially engineered topological superconductivity has emerged as a viable route to create Majorana modes. In this context, proximity-induced superconductivity in materials with a sizable spin-orbit coupling has been intensively investigated in recent years. Although there is convincing evidence that superconductivity may indeed be induced, it has been difficult to elucidate its topological nature. Here, we engineer an artificial topological superconductor by progressively introducing superconductivity (Nb), strong spin-orbital coupling (Pt), and topological states (Bi2Te3). Through spectroscopic imaging of superconducting vortices within the bare s-wave superconducting Nb and within proximitized Pt and Bi2Te3 layers, we detect the emergence of a zero-bias peak that is directly linked to the presence of topological surface states. Our results are rationalized in terms of competing energy trends which are found to impose an upper limit to the size of the minigap separating Majorana and trivial modes, its size being ultimately linked to fundamental materials properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2758-2765
Number of pages8
JournalNano letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 14 2021


  • Majorana modes
  • Topological superconductors
  • heterostructures
  • trivial modes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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