Momentum-space imaging of Cooper pairing in a half-Dirac-gas topological superconductor

Su Yang Xu, Nasser Alidoust, Ilya Belopolski, Anthony Richardella, Chang Liu, Madhab Neupane, Guang Bian, Song Hsun Huang, Raman Sankar, Chen Fang, Brian Dellabetta, Wenqing Dai, Qi Li, Matthew J. Gilbert, Fangcheng Chou, Nitin Samarth, M. Zahid Hasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

95 Scopus citations

Abstract

Superconductivity involving topological Dirac electrons has recently been proposed as a platform between concepts in high-energy and condensed-matter physics. It has been predicted that supersymmetry and Majorana fermions, both of which remain elusive in particle physics, may be realized through emergent particles in these particular superconducting systems. Using artificially fabricated topological-insulator-superconductor heterostructures, we present direct spectroscopic evidence for the existence of Cooper pairing in a weakly interacting half Dirac gas. Our studies reveal that two dimensional topological superconductivity in a helical Dirac gas is distinctly different from that in an ordinary two-dimensional superconductor in terms of the spin degrees of freedom of electrons. We further show that the pairing of Dirac electrons can be suppressed by time-reversal symmetry-breaking impurities, thereby removing the distinction. Our demonstration and momentum-space imaging of Cooper pairing in a half-Dirac-gas two-dimensional topological superconductor serve as a critically important platform for future testing of fundamental physics predictions such as emergent supersymmetry and topological quantum criticality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)943-950
Number of pages8
JournalNature Physics
Volume10
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 11 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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    Xu, S. Y., Alidoust, N., Belopolski, I., Richardella, A., Liu, C., Neupane, M., Bian, G., Huang, S. H., Sankar, R., Fang, C., Dellabetta, B., Dai, W., Li, Q., Gilbert, M. J., Chou, F., Samarth, N., & Hasan, M. Z. (2014). Momentum-space imaging of Cooper pairing in a half-Dirac-gas topological superconductor. Nature Physics, 10(12), 943-950. https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys3139