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Title: Inducing superconductivity in Weyl semimetal microstructures by selective ion sputtering

By introducing a superconducting gap in Weyl or Dirac semimetals, the superconducting state inherits the nontrivial topology of their electronic structure. As a result, Weyl superconductors are expected to host exotic phenomena, such as nonzero-momentum pairing due to their chiral node structure, or zero-energy Majorana modes at the surface. These are of fundamental interest to improve our understanding of correlated topological systems, and, moreover, practical applications in phase-coherent devices and quantum applications have been proposed. Proximity-induced superconductivity promises to allow these experiments on nonsuperconducting Weyl semimetals. Here, we show a new route to reliably fabricate superconducting microstructures from the nonsuperconducting Weyl semimetal NbAs under ion irradiation. Furthermore, the significant difference in the surface binding energy of Nb and As leads to a natural enrichment of Nb at the surface during ion milling, forming a superconducting surface layer (Tc ~ 3.5 K). Being formed from the target crystal itself, the ideal contact between the superconductor and the bulk may enable an effective gapping of the Weyl nodes in the bulk because of the proximity effect. Simple ion irradiation may thus serve as a powerful tool for the fabrication of topological quantum devices from monoarsenides, even on an industrial scale.
Authors:
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [2] ; ORCiD logo [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [5] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7]
  1. Max Planck Inst. for Chemical Physics of Solids, Dresden (Germany); Univ. of St. Andrews, Scotland (United Kingdom). Scottish Universities Physics Alliance, School of Physics and Astronomy
  2. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Dept. of Physics
  3. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Dept. of Physics; Tel Aviv Univ., Ramat Aviv (Israel). Raymond and Beverly Sackler School of Physics and Astronomy
  4. Technical Univ. of Dresden (Germany). Inst. of Theoretical Physics
  5. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  6. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Dept. of Physics; Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  7. Max Planck Inst. for Chemical Physics of Solids, Dresden (Germany)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-17-21856
Journal ID: ISSN 2375-2548; ark:/13030/qt8gv3r5ss
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-05CH11231; AC52-06NA25396
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Science Advances
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 3; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 2375-2548
Publisher:
AAAS
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC); USDOE Office of Science (SC). Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY; Material Science; Weyl semi-metals; proximity-induced superconductivity; Majorana-mode; selective ion sputtering; microstructuring
OSTI Identifier:
1414142
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1413726

Bachmann, Maja D., Nair, Nityan, Flicker, Felix, Ilan, Roni, Meng, Tobias, Ghimire, Nirmal J., Bauer, Eric D., Ronning, Filip, Analytis, James G., and Moll, Philip J. W.. Inducing superconductivity in Weyl semimetal microstructures by selective ion sputtering. United States: N. p., Web. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1602983.
Bachmann, Maja D., Nair, Nityan, Flicker, Felix, Ilan, Roni, Meng, Tobias, Ghimire, Nirmal J., Bauer, Eric D., Ronning, Filip, Analytis, James G., & Moll, Philip J. W.. Inducing superconductivity in Weyl semimetal microstructures by selective ion sputtering. United States. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1602983.
Bachmann, Maja D., Nair, Nityan, Flicker, Felix, Ilan, Roni, Meng, Tobias, Ghimire, Nirmal J., Bauer, Eric D., Ronning, Filip, Analytis, James G., and Moll, Philip J. W.. 2017. "Inducing superconductivity in Weyl semimetal microstructures by selective ion sputtering". United States. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1602983. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1414142.
@article{osti_1414142,
title = {Inducing superconductivity in Weyl semimetal microstructures by selective ion sputtering},
author = {Bachmann, Maja D. and Nair, Nityan and Flicker, Felix and Ilan, Roni and Meng, Tobias and Ghimire, Nirmal J. and Bauer, Eric D. and Ronning, Filip and Analytis, James G. and Moll, Philip J. W.},
abstractNote = {By introducing a superconducting gap in Weyl or Dirac semimetals, the superconducting state inherits the nontrivial topology of their electronic structure. As a result, Weyl superconductors are expected to host exotic phenomena, such as nonzero-momentum pairing due to their chiral node structure, or zero-energy Majorana modes at the surface. These are of fundamental interest to improve our understanding of correlated topological systems, and, moreover, practical applications in phase-coherent devices and quantum applications have been proposed. Proximity-induced superconductivity promises to allow these experiments on nonsuperconducting Weyl semimetals. Here, we show a new route to reliably fabricate superconducting microstructures from the nonsuperconducting Weyl semimetal NbAs under ion irradiation. Furthermore, the significant difference in the surface binding energy of Nb and As leads to a natural enrichment of Nb at the surface during ion milling, forming a superconducting surface layer (Tc ~ 3.5 K). Being formed from the target crystal itself, the ideal contact between the superconductor and the bulk may enable an effective gapping of the Weyl nodes in the bulk because of the proximity effect. Simple ion irradiation may thus serve as a powerful tool for the fabrication of topological quantum devices from monoarsenides, even on an industrial scale.},
doi = {10.1126/sciadv.1602983},
journal = {Science Advances},
number = 5,
volume = 3,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {5}
}