General Framework for Transport in Spin-Orbit-Coupled Superconducting Heterostructures: Nonuniform Spin-Orbit Coupling and Spin-Orbit-Active Interfaces

Date

2015-04-20

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Amer Physical Soc

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Abstract

Electronic spin-orbit coupling (SOC) is essential for various newly discovered phenomena in condensed-matter systems. In particular, one-dimensional topological heterostructures with SOC have been widely investigated in both theory and experiment for their distinct transport signatures indicating the presence of emergent Majorana fermions. However, a general framework for the SOC-affected transport in superconducting heterostructures, especially with the consideration of interfacial effects, has not been developed even regardless of the topological aspects. We hereby provide one for an effectively one-dimensional superconductor-normal heterostructure with nonuniform magnitude and direction of both Rashba and Dresselhaus SOC as well as a spin-orbit-active interface. We extend the Blonder-Tinkham-Klapwijk treatment to analyze the current-voltage relation and obtain a rich range of transport behaviors. Our work provides a basis for characterizing fundamental physics arising from spin-orbit interactions in heterostructures and its implications for topological systems, spintronic applications, and a whole variety of experimental setups.

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Keywords

Quantum wells, Majorana fermions, Topological insulators, Semiconductor nanowire, Ferromagnetism, Spin-Orbit coupling

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©2015 American Physical Society

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