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Highly skewed current–phase relation in superconductor–topological insulator–superconductor Josephson junctions

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  • Morteza Kayyalha, Pennsylvania State University
  • ,
  • Aleksandr Kazakov, Purdue University
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  • Ireneusz Miotkowski, Purdue University
  • ,
  • Sergei Khlebnikov, Purdue University
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  • Leonid P. Rokhinson, Purdue University
  • ,
  • Yong P. Chen

Three-dimensional topological insulators (TIs) in proximity with superconductors are expected to exhibit exotic phenomena, such as topological superconductivity (TSC) and Majorana-bound states (MBS), which may have applications in topological quantum computation. In superconductor–TI–superconductor Josephson junctions, the supercurrent versus the phase difference between the superconductors, referred to as the current–phase relation (CPR), reveals important information including the nature of the superconducting transport. Here, we study the induced superconductivity in gate-tunable Josephson junctions (JJs) made from topological insulator BiSbTeSe2 with superconducting Nb electrodes. We observe highly skewed (non-sinusoidal) CPR in these junctions. The critical current, or the magnitude of the CPR, increases with decreasing temperature down to the lowest accessible temperature (T ~ 20 mK), revealing the existence of low-energy modes in our junctions. The gate dependence shows that close to the Dirac point the CPR becomes less skewed, indicating the transport is more diffusive, most likely due to the presence of electron/hole puddles and charge inhomogeneity. Our experiments provide strong evidence that superconductivity is induced in the highly ballistic topological surface states (TSS) in our gate-tunable TI-based JJs. Furthermore, the measured CPR is in good agreement with the prediction of a model which calculates the phase-dependent eigenstate energies in our system, considering the finite width of the electrodes, as well as the TSS wave functions extending over the entire circumference of the TI.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7
JournalNPJ Quantum Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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