Self-organized topological superconductivity in a Yu-Shiba-Rusinov chain

Michael Schecter, Karsten Flensberg, Morten Christensen, Brian M. Andersen, Jens Paaske

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We study a chain of magnetic moments exchange coupled to a conventional three-dimensional superconductor. In the normal state the chain orders into a collinear configuration, while in the superconducting phase we find that ferromagnetism is unstable to the formation of a magnetic spiral state. Beyond weak exchange coupling the spiral wave vector greatly exceeds the inverse superconducting coherence length as a result of the strong spin-spin interaction mediated through the subgap band of Yu-Shiba-Rusinov states. Moreover, the simple spin-spin exchange description breaks down as the subgap band crosses the Fermi energy, wherein the spiral phase becomes stabilized by the spontaneous opening of a p-wave superconducting gap within the band. This leads to the possibility of electron-driven topological superconductivity with Majorana boundary modes using magnetic atoms on superconducting surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number140503
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 11 2016

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    Schecter, M., Flensberg, K., Christensen, M., Andersen, B. M., & Paaske, J. (2016). Self-organized topological superconductivity in a Yu-Shiba-Rusinov chain. Physical Review B, 93(14), [140503].