Topological superconductivity and Majorana fermions in RKKY systems

Jelena Klinovaja, Peter Stano, Ali Yazdani, Daniel Loss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

285 Scopus citations

Abstract

We consider quasi-one-dimensional Ruderman-Kittel-Kasuya-Yosida (RKKY) systems in proximity to an s-wave superconductor. We show that a 2kF peak in the spin susceptibility of the superconductor in the one-dimensional limit supports helical order of localized magnetic moments via RKKY interaction, where kF is the Fermi wave vector. The magnetic helix is equivalent to a uniform magnetic field and very strong spin-orbit interaction (SOI) with an effective SOI length 1/2kF. We find the conditions to establish such a magnetic state in atomic chains and semiconducting nanowires with magnetic atoms or nuclear spins. Generically, these systems are in a topological phase with Majorana fermions. The inherent self-tuning of the helix to 2kF eliminates the need to tune the chemical potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number186805
JournalPhysical review letters
Volume111
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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