Wednesday, July 10, 2013

1307.2279 (M. M. Vazifeh et al.)

Self-organized topological state with Majorana fermions    [PDF]

M. M. Vazifeh, M. Franz
Topological phases, quite generally, are difficult to come by. They either occur under rather extreme conditions (e.g. the quantum Hall liquids, which require high sample purity, strong magnetic fields and low temperatures) or demand fine tuning of system parameters, as in the majority of known topological insulators. Many perfectly sensible topological phases, such as the Weyl semimetals and topological superconductors, remain experimentally undiscovered. Here we introduce a system in which a key dynamical parameter adjusts itself in response to the changing external conditions so that the ground state naturally favours the topological phase. The system consists of a quantum wire formed of individual magnetic atoms placed on the surface of an ordinary s-wave superconductor. It realizes the Kitaev paradigm of topological superconductivity when the wavevector characterizing the emergent spin helix dynamically self-tunes to support the topological phase.
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