Axion topological field theory of topological superconductors

Xiao Liang Qi, Edward Witten, Shou Cheng Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Topological superconductors are gapped superconductors with gapless and topologically robust quasiparticles propagating on the boundary. In this paper, we present a topological field theory description of three-dimensional time-reversal invariant topological superconductors. In our theory the topological superconductor is characterized by a topological coupling between the electromagnetic field and the superconducting phase fluctuation, which has the same form as the coupling of "axions" with an Abelian gauge field. As a physical consequence of our theory, we predict the level crossing induced by the crossing of special "chiral" vortex lines, which can be realized by considering s-wave superconductors in proximity with the topological superconductor. Our theory can also be generalized to the coupling with a gravitational field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number134519
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number13
StatePublished - Apr 25 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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