Signature of a topological phase transition in the Josephson supercurrent through a topological insulator

M. P. Stehno, V. Orlyanchik, C. D. Nugroho, P. Ghaemi, M. Brahlek, N. Koirala, S. Oh, D. J. Van Harlingen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Topological insulators (TIs) hold great promise for topological quantum computation in solid-state systems. Recently, several groups reported experimental data suggesting that signatures of Majorana modes have been observed in topological insulator Josephson junctions (TIJJs). A prerequisite for the exploration of Majorana physics is to obtain a good understanding of the properties of low-energy Andreev bound states (ABSs) in a material with a topologically nontrivial band structure. Here, we present experimental data and a theoretical analysis demonstrating that the band-structure inversion close to the surface of a TI has observable consequences for supercurrent transport in TIJJs prepared on surface-doped Bi2Se3 thin films. Electrostatic carrier depletion of the film surface leads to an abrupt drop in the critical current of such devices. The effect can be understood as a relocation of low-energy ABSs from a region deeper in the bulk of the material to the more strongly disordered surface, which is driven by the topology of the effective band structure in the presence of surface dopants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035307
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 19 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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