Controlled finite momentum pairing and spatially varying order parameter in proximitized HgTe quantum wells

S. Hart, H. Ren, M. Kosowsky, G. Ben-Shach, P. Leubner, C. Brüne, H. Buhmann, L.W. Molenkamp, B.I. Halperin, A. Yacoby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Conventional s-wave superconductivity arises from singlet pairing of electrons with opposite Fermi momenta, forming Cooper pairs with zero net momentum. Recent studies have focused on coupling s-wave superconductors to systems with an unusual configuration of electronic spin and momentum at the Fermi surface, where the nature of the paired state can be modified and the system may even undergo a topological phase transition. Here we present measurements and theoretical calculations of HgTe quantum wells coupled to aluminium or niobium superconductors and subject to a magnetic field in the plane of the quantum well. We find that this magnetic field tunes the momentum of Cooper pairs in the quantum well, directly reflecting the response of the spin-dependent Fermi surfaces. In the high electron density regime, the induced superconductivity evolves with electron density in agreement with our model based on the Hamiltonian of Bernevig, Hughes and Zhang. This agreement provides a quantitative value for g if/v F, where g if is the effective g-factor and v F is the Fermi velocity. Our new understanding of the interplay between spin physics and superconductivity introduces a way to spatially engineer the order parameter from singlet to triplet pairing, and in general allows investigation of electronic spin texture at the Fermi surface of materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-93
Number of pages7
JournalNature Physics
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

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