Publication list

  1. Reproducing topological properties with quasi-Majorana states [+]

    Andreev bound states in hybrid superconductor-semiconductor devices can have near-zero energy in the topologically trivial regime as long as the confinement potential is sufficiently smooth. These quasi-Majorana states show zero-bias conductance features in a topologically trivial phase, thereby mimicking spatially separated topological Majorana states. We show that in addition to the suppressed coupling between the quasi-Majorana states, also the coupling of these states across a tunnel barrier to the outside is exponentially different. As a consequence, quasi-Majorana states mimic most of the proposed Majorana signatures: quantized zero-bias peaks, the $4\pi$ Josephson effect, and the tunneling spectrum in presence of a normal quantum dot. We identify a quantized conductance dip instead of a peak in the open regime as a distinguishing feature of true Majorana states in addition to having a bulk topological transition. Because braiding schemes rely only on the ability to couple to individual Majorana states, the exponential control over coupling strengths allows to also use quasi-Majorana states for braiding. Therefore, while the appearance of quasi-Majorana states complicates the observation of topological Majorana states, it opens an alternative route towards braiding of non-Abelian anyons and topological quantum computation.

    A. Vuik, B. Nijholt, A. R. Akhmerov, and M. Wimmer
    arXiv:1806.02801 [pdf], (unpublished).

  2. Dissipation-enabled fractional Josephson effect [+]

    The anomalous $4\pi$-periodic ac Josephson effect, a hallmark of topological Josephson junctions, was experimentally observed in a quantum spin Hall insulator. This finding is unexpected due to time-reversal symmetry preventing the backscattering of the helical edge states and therefore suppressing the $4\pi$-periodic component of the Josephson current. Here we analyze the two-particle inelastic scattering as a possible explanation for this experimental finding. We show that a sufficiently strong inelastic scattering restores the $4\pi$-periodic component of the current beyond the short Josephson junction regime. Its signature is an observable peak in the power spectrum of the junction at half the Josephson frequency. We propose to use the exponential dependence of the peak width on the applied bias and the magnitude of the dc current as means of verifying that the inelastic scattering is indeed the mechanism responsible for the $4\pi$-periodic signal.

    Doru Sticlet, Jay D. Sau, and Anton Akhmerov
    arXiv:1805.01137 [pdf], (unpublished).

  3. Breakdown of the law of reflection at a disordered graphene edge [+]

    The law of reflection states that smooth surfaces reflect waves specularly, thereby acting as a mirror. This law is insensitive to disorder as long as its length scale is smaller than the wavelength. Monolayer graphene exhibits a linear dispersion at low energies and consequently a diverging Fermi wavelength. We present proof that a charge-neutral disordered graphene boundary results in a diffusive electron reflection even when the electron wavelength is much longer than the disorder correlation length. Using numerical quantum transport simulations, we demonstrate that this phenomenon can be observed as a nonlocal conductance dip in a magnetic focusing experiment.

    E. Walter, T. Ö. Rosdahl, A. R. Akhmerov, and F. Hassler
    arXiv:1804.04142 [pdf], (unpublished).

  4. Majorana-based fermionic quantum computation [+]

    Because Majorana zero modes store quantum information non-locally, they are protected from noise, and have been proposed as a building block for a quantum computer. We show how to use the same protection from noise to implement universal fermionic quantum computation. Our architecture requires only two Majoranas to encode a (fermionic) quantum degree of freedom, compared to alternative implementations which require a minimum of four Majoranas for a spin quantum degree of freedom. The fermionic degrees of freedom support both unitary coupled cluster variational quantum eigensolver and quantum phase estimation algorithms, proposed for quantum chemistry simulations. Because we avoid the Jordan-Wigner transformation, our scheme has a lower overhead for implementing both of these algorithms, and it allows to simulate a Trotterized Hubbard Hamiltonian in O(1) time. We finally demonstrate magic state distillation in our fermionic architecture, giving a universal set of topologically protected fermionic quantum gates.

    T. E. O'Brien, P. Rożek, and A. R. Akhmerov

  5. A general algorithm for computing bound states in infinite tight-binding systems [+]

    We propose a robust and efficient algorithm for computing bound states of infinite tight-binding systems that are made up of a finite scattering region connected to semi-infinite leads. Our method uses wave matching in close analogy to the approaches used to obtain propagating states and scattering matrices. We show that our algorithm is robust in presence of slowly decaying bound states where a diagonalization of a finite system would fail. It also allows to calculate the bound states that can be present in the middle of a continuous spectrum. We apply our technique to quantum billiards and the following topological materials: Majorana states in 1D superconducting nanowires, edge states in the 2D quantum spin Hall phase, and Fermi arcs in 3D Weyl semimetals.

    M. Istas, C. Groth, A. R. Akhmerov, M. Wimmer, and X. Waintal

  6. The Andreev rectifier: a nonlocal conductance signature of topological phase transitions [+]

    The proximity effect in hybrid superconductor-semiconductor structures, crucial for realizing Majorana edge modes, is complicated to control due to its dependence on many unknown microscopic parameters. In addition, defects can spoil the induced superconductivity locally in the proximitised system which complicates measuring global properties with a local probe. We show how to use the nonlocal conductance between two spatially separated leads to probe three global properties of a proximitised system: the bulk superconducting gap, the induced gap, and the induced coherence length. Unlike local conductance spectroscopy, nonlocal conductance measurements distinguish between non-topological zero-energy modes localized around potential inhomogeneities, and true Majorana edge modes that emerge in the topological phase. In addition, we find that the nonlocal conductance is an odd function of bias at the topological phase transition, acting as a current rectifier in the low-bias limit. More generally, we identify conditions for crossed Andreev reflection to dominate the nonlocal conductance and show how to design a Cooper pair splitter in the open regime.

    T. Ö. Rosdahl, A. Vuik, M. Kjaergaard, and A. R. Akhmerov

  7. Supercurrent interference in few-mode nanowire Josephson junctions [+]

    Junctions created by coupling two superconductors via a semiconductor nanowire in the presence of high magnetic fields are the basis for detection, fusion, and braiding of Majorana bound states. We study NbTiN/InSb nanowire/NbTiN Josephson junctions and find that their critical currents in the few mode regime are strongly suppressed by magnetic field. Furthermore, the dependence of the critical current on magnetic field exhibits gate-tunable nodes. Based on a realistic numerical model we conclude that the Zeeman effect induced by the magnetic field and the spin-orbit interaction in the nanowire are insufficient to explain the observed evolution of the Josephson effect. We find the interference between the few occupied one-dimensional modes in the nanowire to be the dominant mechanism responsible for the critical current behavior. The suppression and non-monotonic evolution of critical currents at finite magnetic field should be taken into account when designing circuits based on Majorana bound states.

    K. Zuo, V. Mourik, D. B. Szombati, B. Nijholt, D. J. van Woerkom, A. Geresdi, J. Chen, V. P. Ostroukh, A. R. Akhmerov, S. R. Plissard, D. Car, E. P. A. M. Bakkers, D. I. Pikulin, L. P. Kouwenhoven, and S. M. Frolov

  8. Demonstration of an AC Josephson junction laser [+]

    Superconducting electronic devices have re-emerged as contenders for both classical and quantum computing due to their fast operation speeds, low dissipation and long coherence times. An ultimate demonstration of coherence is lasing. We use one of the fundamental aspects of superconductivity, the ac Josephson effect, to demonstrate a laser made from a Josephson junction strongly coupled to a multi-mode superconducting cavity. A dc voltage bias to the junction provides a source of microwave photons, while the circuit's nonlinearity allows for efficient down-conversion of higher order Josephson frequencies down to the cavity's fundamental mode. The simple fabrication and operation allows for easy integration with a range of quantum devices, allowing for efficient on-chip generation of coherent microwave photons at low temperatures.

    M. C. Cassidy, A. Bruno, S. Rubbert, M. Irfan, J. Kammhuber, R. N. Schouten, A. R. Akhmerov, and L. P. Kouwenhoven

  9. Tailoring supercurrent confinement in graphene bilayer weak links [+]

    The Josephson effect is one of the most studied macroscopic quantum phenomena in condensed matter physics and has been an essential part of the quantum technologies development over the last decades. It is already used in many applications such as magnetometry, metrology, quantum computing, detectors or electronic refrigeration. However, developing devices in which the induced superconductivity can be monitored, both spatially and in its magnitude, remains a serious challenge. In this work, we have used local gates to control confinement, amplitude and density profile of the supercurrent induced in one-dimensional nanoscale constrictions, defined in bilayer graphene-hexagonal boron nitride van der Waals heterostructures. The combination of resistance gate maps, out-of-equilibrium transport, magnetic interferometry measurements, analytical and numerical modelling enables us to explore highly tunable superconducting weak links. Our study opens the path way to design more complex superconducting circuits based on this principle such as electronic interferometers or transition-edge sensors.

    R. Kraft, J. Mohrmann, R. Du, P. B. Selvasundaram, M. Irfan, U. N. Kanilmaz, F. Wu, D. Beckmann, H. von Löhneysen, R. Krupke, A. R. Akhmerov, I. Gornyi, and R. Danneau

  10. Robustness of Majorana bound states in the short junction limit [+]

    We study the effects of strong coupling between a superconductor and a semiconductor nanowire on the creation of the Majorana bound states, when the quasiparticle dwell time in the normal part of the nanowire is much shorter than the inverse superconducting gap. This "short junction" limit is relevant for the recent experiments using the epitaxially grown aluminum characterized by a transparent interface with the semiconductor and a small superconducting gap. We find that the small superconducting gap does not have a strong detrimental effect on the Majorana properties. Specifically, both the critical magnetic field required for creating a topological phase and the size of the Majorana bound states are independent of the superconducting gap. The critical magnetic field scales with the wire cross section, while the relative importance of the orbital and Zeeman effects of the magnetic field is controlled by the material parameters only: $g$-factor, effective electron mass, and the semiconductor-superconductor interface transparency.

    D. Sticlet, B. Nijholt, and A. R. Akhmerov

  11. Transparent semiconductor-superconductor interface and induced gap in an epitaxial heterostructure Josephson junction [+]

    Measurement of multiple Andreev reflection (MAR) in a Josephson junction made from an InAs heterostructure with epitaxial aluminum is used to quantify the highly transparent semiconductor-superconductor interface, indicating near-unity transmission. The observed temperature dependence of MAR does not follow a conventional BCS form, but instead agrees with a model in which the density of states in the quantum well acquires an effective induced gap, in our case 180 {\mu}eV, close to that of the epitaxial superconductor. Carrier density dependence of MAR is investigated using a depletion gate, revealing the subband structure of the semiconductor quantum well, consistent with magnetotransport experiment of the bare InAs performed on the same wafer.

    M. Kjaergaard, H. J. Suominen, M. P. Nowak, A. R. Akhmerov, J. Shabani, C. J. Palmstrøm, F. Nichele, and C. M. Marcus

  12. Two-dimensional Josephson vortex lattice and anomalously slow decay of the Fraunhofer oscillations in a ballistic SNS junction with a warped Fermi surface [+]

    $ $The critical current of a Josephson junction is an oscillatory function of the enclosed magnetic flux $Ф$, because of quantum interference modulated with periodicity $h/2e$. We calculate these Fraunhofer oscillations in a two-dimensional (2D) ballistic superconductor--normal-metal--superconductor (SNS) junction. For a Fermi circle the amplitude of the oscillations decays as $1/Ф$ or faster. If the Fermi circle is strongly warped, as it is on a square lattice near the band center, we find that the amplitude decays slower $\propto 1/\sqrt Ф$ when the magnetic length $l_m=\sqrt{\hbar/eB}$ drops below the separation $L$ of the NS interfaces. The crossover to the slow decay of the critical current is accompanied by the appearance of a 2D array of current vortices and antivortices in the normal region, which form a bipartite rectangular lattice with lattice constant $\simeq l_m²/L$. The 2D lattice vanishes for a circular Fermi surface, when only the usual single row of Josephson vortices remains.

    V. P. Ostroukh, B. Baxevanis, A. R. Akhmerov, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  13. Quantized conductance doubling and hard gap in a two-dimensional semiconductor-superconductor heterostructure [+]

    The prospect of coupling a two-dimensional (2D) semiconductor heterostructure to a superconductor opens new research and technology opportunities, including fundamental problems in mesoscopic superconductivity, scalable superconducting electronics, and new topological states of matter. For instance, one route toward realizing topological matter is by coupling a 2D electron gas (2DEG) with strong spin-orbit interaction to an s-wave superconductor. Previous efforts along these lines have been hindered by interface disorder and unstable gating. Here, we report measurements on a gateable InGaAs/InAs 2DEG with patterned epitaxial Al, yielding multilayer devices with atomically pristine interfaces between semiconductor and superconductor. Using surface gates to form a quantum point contact (QPC), we find a hard superconducting gap in the tunneling regime, overcoming the soft-gap problem in 2D superconductor-semiconductor hybrid systems. With the QPC in the open regime, we observe a first conductance plateau at 4e²/h, as expected theoretically for a normal-QPC-superconductor structure. The realization of a hard-gap semiconductor-superconductor system that is amenable to top-down processing provides a means of fabricating scalable multicomponent hybrid systems for applications in low-dissipation electronics and topological quantum information.

    M. Kjaergaard, F. Nichele, H. J. Suominen, M. P. Nowak, M. Wimmer, A. R. Akhmerov, J. A. Folk, K. Flensberg, J. Shabani, C. J. Palmstrom, and C. M. Marcus

  14. Detecting Majorana nonlocality using strongly coupled Majorana bound states [+]

    Majorana bound states (MBS) differ from the regular zero energy Andreev bound states in their nonlocal properties, since two MBS form a single fermion. We design strategies for detection of this nonlocality by using the phenomenon of Coulomb-mediated Majorana coupling in a simplest setting which still retains falsifiability. Focusing on the implementation of MBS based on the quantum spin Hall effect, we also design a way to probe Majoranas without the need to open a magnetic gap in the helical edge states. In the setup that we analyse, long range MBS coupling manifests in the $h/e$ magnetic flux periodicity of tunneling conductance and supercurrent. While $h/e$ is also the periodicity of Aharonov-Bohm effect and persistent current, we show how to ensure its Majorana origin by verifying that switching off the charging energy restores $h/2e$ periodicity conventional for superconducting systems.

    S. Rubbert and A. R. Akhmerov

  15. Effects of the electrostatic environment on the Majorana nanowire devices [+]

    One of the promising platforms for creating Majorana bound states is a hybrid nanostructure consisting of a semiconducting nanowire covered by a superconductor. We analyze the previously disregarded role of electrostatic interaction in these devices. Our main result is that Coulomb interaction causes the chemical potential to respond to an applied magnetic field, while spin-orbit interaction and screening by the superconducting lead suppress this response. Consequently, the electrostatic environment influences two properties of Majorana devices: the shape of the topological phase boundary and the oscillations of the Majorana splitting energy. We demonstrate that both properties show a non-universal behavior, and depend on the details of the electrostatic environment. We show that when the wire only contains a single electron mode, the experimentally accessible inverse self-capacitance of this mode fully captures the interplay between electrostatics and Zeeman field. This offers a way to compare theoretical predictions with experiments.

    A. Vuik, D. Eeltink, A. R. Akhmerov, and M. Wimmer

  16. An attractive critical point from weak antilocalization on fractals [+]

    We report a new attractive critical point occurring in the Anderson localization scaling flow of symplectic models on fractals. The scaling theory of Anderson localization predicts that in disordered symplectic two-dimensional systems weak antilocalization effects lead to a metal-insulator transition. This transition is characterized by a repulsive critical point above which the system becomes metallic. Fractals possess a non-integer scaling of conductance in the classical limit which can be continuously tuned by changing the fractal structure. We demonstrate that in disordered symplectic Hamiltonians defined on fractals with classical conductance scaling $g \sim L^{-\varepsilon}$, for $0 < \varepsilon < \beta_\mathrm{max} \approx 0.15$, the metallic phase is replaced by a critical phase with a scale invariant conductance dependent on the fractal dimensionality. Our results show that disordered fractals allow an explicit construction and verification of the $\varepsilon$ expansion.

    D. Sticlet and A. R. Akhmerov

  17. Orbital effect of magnetic field on the Majorana phase diagram [+]

    Studies of Majorana bound states in semiconducting nanowires frequently neglect the orbital effect of magnetic field. Systematically studying its role leads us to several conclusions for designing Majoranas in this system. Specifically, we show that for experimentally relevant parameter values orbital effect of magnetic field has a stronger impact on the dispersion relation than the Zeeman effect. While Majoranas do not require a presence of only one dispersion subband, we observe that the size of the Majoranas becomes unpractically large, and the band gap unpractically small when more than one subband is filled. Since the orbital effect of magnetic field breaks several symmetries of the Hamiltonian, it leads to the appearance of large regions in parameter space with no band gap whenever the magnetic field is not aligned with the wire axis. The reflection symmetry of the Hamiltonian with respect to the plane perpendicular to the wire axis guarantees that the wire stays gapped in the topologically nontrivial region as long as the field is aligned with the wire.

    B. Nijholt and A. R. Akhmerov

  18. Visualization of phase-coherent electron interference in a ballistic graphene Josephson junction [+]

    Interference of standing waves in electromagnetic resonators forms the basis of many technologies, from telecommunications and spectroscopy to detection of gravitational waves. However, unlike the confinement of light waves in vacuum, the interference of electronic waves in solids is complicated by boundary properties of the crystal, notably leading to electron guiding by atomic-scale potentials at the edges. Understanding the microscopic role of boundaries on coherent wave interference is an unresolved question due to the challenge of detecting charge flow with submicron resolution. Here we employ Fraunhofer interferometry to achieve real-space imaging of cavity modes in a graphene Fabry-Perot resonator, embedded between two superconductors to form a Josephson junction. By directly visualizing current flow using Fourier methods, our measurements reveal surprising redistribution of current on and off resonance. These findings provide direct evidence of separate interference conditions for edge and bulk currents and reveal the ballistic nature of guided edge states. Beyond equilibrium, our measurements show strong modulation of the multiple Andreev reflection amplitude on an off resonance, a direct measure of the gate-tunable change of cavity transparency. These results demonstrate that, contrary to the common belief, electron interactions with realistic disordered edges facilitate electron wave interference and ballistic transport.

    M. T. Allen, O. Shtanko, I. C. Fulga, J. I. -J. Wang, D. Nurgaliev, K. Watanabe, T. Taniguchi, A. R. Akhmerov, P. Jarillo-Herrero, L. S. Levitov, and A. Yacoby

  19. Spatially resolved edge currents and guided-wave electronic states in graphene [+]

    A far-reaching goal of graphene research is exploiting the unique properties of carriers to realize extreme nonclassical electronic transport. Of particular interest is harnessing wavelike carriers to guide and direct them on submicron scales, similar to light in optical fibers. Such modes, while long anticipated, have never been demonstrated experimentally. In order to explore this behavior, we employ superconducting interferometry in a graphene Josephson junction to reconstruct the real-space supercurrent density using Fourier methods. Our measurements reveal charge flow guided along crystal boundaries close to charge neutrality. We interpret the observed edge currents in terms of guided-wave states, confined to the edge by band bending and transmitted as plane waves. As a direct analog of refraction-based confinement of light in optical fibers, such nonclassical states afford new means for information transduction and processing at the nanoscale.

    M. T. Allen, O. Shtanko, I. C. Fulga, A. R. Akhmerov, K. Watanabi, T. Taniguchi, P. Jarillo-Herrero, L. S. Levitov, and A. Yacoby

  20. Realization of microwave quantum circuits using hybrid superconducting-semiconducting nanowire Josephson elements [+]

    We report the realization of quantum microwave circuits using hybrid superconductor-semiconductor Josephson elements comprised of InAs nanowires contacted by NbTiN. Capacitively-shunted single elements behave as transmon qubits with electrically tunable transition frequencies. Two-element circuits also exhibit transmon-like behavior near zero applied flux, but behave as flux qubits at half the flux quantum, where non-sinusoidal current-phase relations in the elements produce a double-well Josephson potential. These hybrid Josephson elements are promising for applications requiring microwave superconducting circuits operating in magnetic field.

    G. de Lange, B. van Heck, A. Bruno, D. J. van Woerkom, A. Geresdi, S. R. Plissard, E. P. A. M. Bakkers, A. R. Akhmerov, and L. DiCarlo

  21. Ballistic Josephson junctions in edge-contacted graphene [+]

    Hybrid graphene-superconductor devices have attracted much attention since the early days of graphene research. So far, these studies have been limited to the case of diffusive transport through graphene with poorly defined and modest quality graphene-superconductor interfaces, usually combined with small critical magnetic fields of the superconducting electrodes. Here we report graphene based Josephson junctions with one-dimensional edge contacts of Molybdenum Rhenium. The contacts exhibit a well defined, transparent interface to the graphene, have a critical magnetic field of 8 Tesla at 4 Kelvin and the graphene has a high quality due to its encapsulation in hexagonal boron nitride. This allows us to study and exploit graphene Josephson junctions in a new regime, characterized by ballistic transport. We find that the critical current oscillates with the carrier density due to phase coherent interference of the electrons and holes that carry the supercurrent caused by the formation of a Fabry-P\'{e}rot cavity. Furthermore, relatively large supercurrents are observed over unprecedented long distances of up to 1.5 $\mu$m. Finally, in the quantum Hall regime we observe broken symmetry states while the contacts remain superconducting. These achievements open up new avenues to exploit the Dirac nature of graphene in interaction with the superconducting state.

    V. E. Calado, S. Goswami, G. Nanda, M. Diez, A. R. Akhmerov, K. Watanabe, T. Taniguchi, T. M. Klapwijk, and L. M. K. Vandersypen

  22. Single fermion manipulation via superconducting phase differences in multiterminal Josephson junctions [+]

    We show how the superconducting phase difference in a Josephson junction may be used to split the Kramers degeneracy of its energy levels and to remove all the properties associated with time reversal symmetry. The superconducting phase difference is known to be ineffective in two-terminal short Josephson junctions, where irrespective of the junction structure the induced Kramers degeneracy splitting is suppressed and the ground state fermion parity must stay even, so that a protected zero-energy Andreev level crossing may never appear. Our main result is that these limitations can be completely avoided by using multi-terminal Josephson junctions. There the Kramers degeneracy breaking becomes comparable to the superconducting gap, and applying phase differences may cause the change of the ground state fermion parity from even to odd. We prove that the necessary condition for the appearance of a fermion parity switch is the presence of a "discrete vortex" in the junction: the situation when the phases of the superconducting leads wind by $2\pi$. Our approach offers new strategies for creation of Majorana bound states as well as spin manipulation. Our proposal can be implemented using any low density, high spin-orbit material such as InAs quantum wells, and can be detected using standard tools.

    B. van Heck, S. Mi, and A. R. Akhmerov

  23. Kwant: a software package for quantum transport [+]

    Kwant is a Python package for numerical quantum transport calculations. It aims to be an user-friendly, universal, and high-performance toolbox for the simulation of physical systems of any dimensionality and geometry that can be described by a tight-binding model. Kwant has been designed such that the natural concepts of the theory of quantum transport (lattices, symmetries, electrodes, orbital/spin/electron-hole degrees of freedom) are exposed in a simple and transparent way: Defining a new simulation setup is very close to describing the corresponding mathematical model. Kwant offers direct support for calculations of transport properties (conductance, noise, scattering matrix), dispersion relations, modes, wave functions, various Green's functions, and out-of-equilibrium local quantities. Other computations involving tight-binding Hamiltonians can be implemented easily thanks to its extensible and modular nature. Kwant is free software available at

    C. W. Groth, M. Wimmer, A. R. Akhmerov, and X. Waintal

  24. Flux-controlled quantum computation with Majorana fermions [+]

    Majorana fermions hold promise for quantum computation, because their non-Abelian braiding statistics allows for topologically protected operations on quantum information. Topological qubits can be constructed from pairs of well-separated Majoranas in networks of nanowires. The coupling to a superconducting charge qubit in a transmission line resonator (transmon) permits braiding of Majoranas by external variation of magnetic fluxes. We show that readout operations can also be fully flux-controlled, without requiring microscopic control over tunnel couplings. We identify the minimal circuit that can perform the initialization--braiding--measurement steps required to demonstrate non-Abelian statistics. We introduce the Random Access Majorana Memory, a scalable circuit that can perform a joint parity measurement on Majoranas belonging to a selection of topological qubits. Such multi-qubit measurements allow for the efficient creation of highly entangled states and simplify quantum error correction protocols by avoiding the need for ancilla qubits.

    T. Hyart, B. van Heck, I. C. Fulga, M. Burrello, A. R. Akhmerov, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  25. Phase-locked magnetoconductance oscillations as a probe of Majorana edge states [+]

    We calculate the Andreev conductance of a superconducting ring interrupted by a flux-biased Josephson junction, searching for electrical signatures of circulating edge states. Two-dimensional pair potentials of spin-singlet d-wave and spin-triplet p-wave symmetry support, respectively, (chiral) Dirac modes and (chiral or helical) Majorana modes. These produce h/e-periodic magnetoconductance oscillations of amplitude \simeq (e²}/h)N^{-1/2}, measured via an N-mode point contact at the inner or outer perimeter of the grounded ring. For Dirac modes the oscillations in the two contacts are independent, while for an unpaired Majorana mode they are phase locked by a topological phase transition at the Josephson junction.

    M. Diez, I. C. Fulga, D. I. Pikulin, M. Wimmer, A. R. Akhmerov, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  26. Statistical topological insulators [+]

    We define a class of insulators with gapless surface states protected from localization due to the statistical properties of a disordered ensemble, namely due to the ensemble's invariance under a certain symmetry. We show that these insulators are topological, and are protected by a $\mathbb{Z}_2$ invariant. Finally, we prove that every topological insulator gives rise to an infinite number of classes of statistical topological insulators in higher dimensions. Our conclusions are confirmed by numerical simulations.

    I. C. Fulga, B. van Heck, J. M. Edge, and A. R. Akhmerov

  27. Adaptive tuning of Majorana fermions in a quantum dot chain [+]

    We suggest a way to overcome the obstacles that disorder and high density of states pose to the creation of unpaired Majorana fermions in one-dimensional systems. This is achieved by splitting the system into a chain of quantum dots, which are then tuned to the conditions under which the chain can be viewed as an effective Kitaev model, so that it is in a robust topological phase with well-localized Majorana states in the outermost dots. The tuning algorithm that we develop involves controlling the gate voltages and the superconducting phases. Resonant Andreev spectroscopy allows us to make the tuning adaptive, so that each pair of dots may be tuned independently of the other. The calculated quantized zero bias conductance serves then as a natural proof of the topological nature of the tuned phase.

    I. C. Fulga, A. Haim, A. R. Akhmerov, and Y. Oreg

  28. Braiding of non-Abelian anyons using pairwise interactions [+]

    The common approach to topological quantum computation is to implement quantum gates by adiabatically moving non-Abelian anyons around each other. Here we present an alternative perspective based on the possibility of realizing the exchange (braiding) operators of anyons by adiabatically varying pairwise interactions between them rather than their positions. We analyze a system composed by four anyons whose couplings define a T-junction and we show that the braiding operator of two of them can be obtained through a particular adiabatic cycle in the space of the coupling parameters. We also discuss how to couple this scheme with anyonic chains in order to recover the topological protection.

    M. Burrello, B. van Heck, and A. R. Akhmerov

  29. Topological blockade and measurement of topological charge [+]

    The fractionally charged quasiparticles appearing in the 5/2 fractional quantum Hall plateau are predicted to have an extra non-local degree of freedom, known as topological charge. We show how this topological charge can block the tunnelling of these particles, and how such 'topological blockade' can be used to readout their topological charge. We argue that the short time scale required for this measurement is favorable for the detection of the non-Abelian anyonic statistics of the quasiparticles. We also show how topological blockade can be used to measure braiding statistics, and to couple a topological qubit with a conventional one.

    B. van Heck, M. Burrello, A. Yacoby, and A. R. Akhmerov

  30. Thermal metal-insulator transition in a helical topological superconductor [+]

    Two-dimensional superconductors with time-reversal symmetry have a Z_2 topological invariant, that distinguishes phases with and without helical Majorana edge states. We study the topological phase transition in a class-DIII network model, and show that it is associated with a metal-insulator transition for the thermal conductance of the helical superconductor. The localization length diverges at the transition with critical exponent nu approx 2.0, about twice the known value in a chiral superconductor.

    I. C. Fulga, A. R. Akhmerov, J. Tworzydło, B. Béri, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  31. Zero-bias conductance peak and Josephson effect in graphene-NbTiN junctions [+]

    We report electronic transport measurements of graphene contacted by NbTiN electrodes, which at low temperature remain superconducting up to at least 11 Tesla. In devices with a single superconducting contact, we find a more than twofold enhancement of the conductance at zero bias, which we interpret in terms of reflectionless tunneling. In devices with two superconducting contacts, we observe the Josephson effect, bipolar supercurrents and Fraunhofer patterns.

    M. Popinciuc, V. E. Calado, X. L. Liu, A. R. Akhmerov, T. M. Klapwijk, and L. M. K. Vandersypen

  32. Coulomb-assisted braiding of Majorana fermions in a Josephson junction array [+]

    We show how to exchange (braid) Majorana fermions in a network of superconducting nanowires by control over Coulomb interactions rather than tunneling. Even though Majorana fermions are charge-neutral quasiparticles (equal to their own antiparticle), they have an effective long-range interaction through the even-odd electron number dependence of the superconducting ground state. The flux through a split Josephson junction controls this interaction via the ratio of Josephson and charging energies, with exponential sensitivity. By switching the interaction on and off in neighboring segments of a Josephson junction array, the non-Abelian braiding statistics can be realized without the need to control tunnel couplings by gate electrodes. This is a solution to the problem how to operate on topological qubits when gate voltages are screened by the superconductor.

    B. van Heck, A. R. Akhmerov, F. Hassler, M. Burrello, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  33. Topological quantum number and critical exponent from conductance fluctuations at the quantum Hall plateau transition [+]

    The conductance of a two-dimensional electron gas at the transition from one quantum Hall plateau to the next has sample-specific fluctuations as a function of magnetic field and Fermi energy. Here we identify a universal feature of these mesoscopic fluctuations in a Corbino geometry: The amplitude of the magnetoconductance oscillations has an e²/h resonance in the transition region, signaling a change in the topological quantum number of the insulating bulk. This resonance provides a signed scaling variable for the critical exponent of the phase transition (distinct from existing positive definite scaling variables).

    I. C. Fulga, F. Hassler, A. R. Akhmerov, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  34. Dirac boundary condition at the reconstructed zigzag edge of graphene [+]

    Edge reconstruction modifies the electronic properties of finite graphene samples. We formulate a low-energy theory of the reconstructed zigzag edge by deriving the modified boundary condition to the Dirac equation. If the unit cell size of the reconstructed edge is not a multiple of three with respect to the zigzag unit cell, valleys remain uncoupled and the edge reconstruction is accounted for by a single angular parameter $\vartheta$. Dispersive edge states exist generically, unless $|\vartheta| = \pi/2$. We compute $\vartheta$ from a microscopic model for the "reczag" reconstruction (conversion of two hexagons into a pentagon-heptagon pair) and show that it can be measured via the local density of states. In a magnetic field there appear three distinct edge modes in the lowest Landau level, two of which are counterpropagating.

    J. A. M. van Ostaay, A. R. Akhmerov, C. W. J. Beenakker, and M. Wimmer

  35. Coulomb stability of the 4π-periodic Josephson effect of Majorana fermions [+]

    The Josephson energy of two superconducting islands containing Majorana fermions is a 4\pi-periodic function of the superconducting phase difference. If the islands have a small capacitance, their ground state energy is governed by the competition of Josephson and charging energies. We calculate this ground state energy in a ring geometry, as a function of the flux -\Ф- enclosed by the ring, and show that the dependence on the Aharonov-Bohm phase 2e\Ф/\hbar remains 4\pi-periodic regardless of the ratio of charging and Josephson energies - provided that the entire ring is in a topologically nontrivial state. If part of the ring is topologically trivial, then the charging energy induces quantum phase slips that restore the usual 2\pi-periodicity.

    B. van Heck, F. Hassler, A. R. Akhmerov, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  36. Majorana fermions emerging from magnetic nanoparticles on a superconductor without spin-orbit coupling [+]

    There exists a variety of proposals to transform a conventional s-wave superconductor into a topological superconductor, supporting Majorana fermion mid-gap states. A necessary ingredient of these proposals is strong spin-orbit coupling. Here we propose an alternative system consisting of a one-dimensional chain of magnetic nanoparticles on a superconducting substrate. No spin-orbit coupling in the superconductor is needed. We calculate the topological quantum number of a chain of finite length, including the competing effects of disorder in the orientation of the magnetic moments and in the hopping energies, to identify the transition into the topologically nontrivial state (with Majorana fermions at the end points of the chain).

    T.-P. Choy, J. M. Edge, A. R. Akhmerov, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  37. Scattering theory of topological insulators and superconductors [+]

    The topological invariant of a topological insulator (or superconductor) is given by the number of symmetry-protected edge states present at the Fermi level. Despite this fact, established expressions for the topological invariant require knowledge of all states below the Fermi energy. Here, we propose a way to calculate the topological invariant employing solely its scattering matrix at the Fermi level without knowledge of the full spectrum. Since the approach based on scattering matrices requires much less information than the Hamiltonian-based approaches (surface versus bulk), it is numerically more efficient. In particular, is better-suited for studying disordered systems. Moreover, it directly connects the topological invariant to transport properties potentially providing a new way to probe topological phases.

    I. C. Fulga, F. Hassler, and A. R. Akhmerov

  38. Transmission probability through a Lévy glass and comparison with a Lévy walk [+]

    Recent experiments on the propagation of light over a distance L through a random packing of spheres with a power law distribution of radii (a socalled L\'evy glass) have found that the transmission probability T \propto 1/L^{\gamma} scales superdiffusively ({\gamma} < 1). The data has been interpreted in terms of a L\'evy walk. We present computer simulations to demonstrate that diffusive scaling ({\gamma} \approx 1) can coexist with a divergent second moment of the step size distribution (p(s) \propto 1/s^(1+{\alpha}) with {\alpha} < 2). This finding is in accord with analytical predictions for the effect of step size correlations, but deviates from what one would expect for a L\'evy walk of independent steps.

    C. W. Groth, A. R. Akhmerov, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  39. Top-transmon: hybrid superconducting qubit for parity-protected quantum computation [+]

    Qubits constructed from uncoupled Majorana fermions are protected from decoherence, but to perform a quantum computation this topological protection needs to be broken. Parity-protected quantum computation breaks the protection in a minimally invasive way, by coupling directly to the fermion parity of the system --- irrespective of any quasiparticle excitations. Here we propose to use a superconducting charge qubit in a transmission line resonator (a socalled transmon) to perform parity-protected rotations and read-out of a topological (top) qubit. The advantage over an earlier proposal using a flux qubit is that the coupling can be switched on and off with exponential accuracy, promising a reduced sensitivity to charge noise.

    F. Hassler, A. R. Akhmerov, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  40. Spin-triplet supercurrent carried by quantum Hall edge states through a Josephson junction [+]

    We show that a spin-polarized Landau level in a two-dimensional electron gas can carry a spin-triplet supercurrent between two spin-singlet superconductors. The supercurrent results from the interplay of Andreev reflection and Rashba spin-orbit coupling at the normal--superconductor (NS) interface. We contrast the current-phase relationship and the Fraunhofer oscillations of the spin-triplet and spin-singlet Josephson effect in the lowest Landau level, and find qualitative differences.

    J. A. M. van Ostaay, A. R. Akhmerov, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  41. Majorana fermions in equilibrium and driven cold atom quantum wires [+]

    We introduce a new approach to create and detect Majorana fermions using optically trapped 1D fermionic atoms. In our proposed setup, two internal states of the atoms couple via an optical Raman transition---simultaneously inducing an effective spin-orbit interaction and magnetic field---while a background molecular BEC cloud generates s-wave pairing for the atoms. The resulting cold atom quantum wire supports Majorana fermions at phase boundaries between topologically trivial and nontrivial regions, as well as `Floquet Majorana fermions' when the system is periodically driven. We analyze experimental parameters, detection schemes, and various imperfections.

    L. Jiang, T. Kitagawa, J. Alicea, A. R. Akhmerov, D. Pekker, G. Refael, J. Ignacio Cirac, E. Demler, M. D. Lukin, and P. Zoller

  42. Quantum point contact as a probe of a topological superconductor [+]

    We calculate the conductance of a ballistic point contact to a superconducting wire, produced by the s-wave proximity effect in a semiconductor with spin-orbit coupling in a parallel magnetic field. The conductance G as a function of contact width or Fermi energy shows plateaus at half-integer multiples of 4e²/h if the superconductor is in a topologically nontrivial phase. In contrast, the plateaus are at the usual integer multiples in the topologically trivial phase. Disorder destroys all plateaus except the first, which remains precisely quantized, consistent with previous results for a tunnel contact. The advantage of a ballistic contact over a tunnel contact as a probe of the topological phase is the strongly reduced sensitivity to finite voltage or temperature.

    M. Wimmer, A. R. Akhmerov, J. P. Dahlhaus, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  43. Scattering formula for the topological quantum number of a disordered multi-mode wire [+]

    The topological quantum number Q of a superconducting or chiral insulating wire counts the number of stable bound states at the end points. We determine Q from the matrix r of reflection amplitudes from one of the ends, generalizing the known result in the absence of time-reversal and chiral symmetry to all five topologically nontrivial symmetry classes. The formula takes the form of the determinant, Pfaffian, or matrix signature of r, depending on whether r is a real matrix, a real antisymmetric matrix, or a Hermitian matrix. We apply this formula to calculate the topological quantum number of N coupled dimerized polymer chains, including the effects of disorder in the hopping constants. The scattering theory relates a topological phase transition to a conductance peak, of quantized height and with a universal (symmetry class independent) line shape. Two peaks which merge are annihilated in the superconducting symmetry classes, while they reinforce each other in the chiral symmetry classes.

    I. C. Fulga, F. Hassler, A. R. Akhmerov, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  44. Probing Majorana edge states with a flux qubit [+]

    A pair of counter-propagating Majorana edge modes appears in chiral p-wave superconductors and in other superconducting systems belonging to the same universality class. These modes can be described by an Ising conformal field theory. We show how a superconducting flux qubit attached to such a system couples to the two chiral edge modes via the disorder field of the Ising model. Due to this coupling, measuring the back-action of the edge states on the qubit allows to probe the properties of Majorana edge modes.

    C.-Y. Hou, F. Hassler, A. R. Akhmerov, and J. Nilsson

  45. Effects of disorder on the transmission of nodal fermions through a d-wave superconductor [+]

    The bulk microwave conductivity of a dirty d-wave superconductor is known to depend sensitively on the range of the disorder potential: long-range scattering enhances the conductivity, while short- range scattering has no effect. Here we show that the three-terminal electrical conductance of a normal-metal-d-wave superconductor-normal-metal junction has a dual behavior: short-range scattering suppresses the conductance, while long-range scattering has no effect.

    J. K. Asboth, A. R. Akhmerov, M. V. Medvedyeva, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  46. Random-matrix theory of Andreev reflection from a topological superconductor [+]

    We calculate the probability distribution of the Andreev reflection eigenvalues R_n at the Fermi level in the circular ensemble of random-matrix theory. Without spin-rotation symmetry, the statistics of the electrical conductance G depends on the topological quantum number Q of the superconductor. We show that this dependence is nonperturbative in the number N of scattering channels, by proving that the p-th cumulant of G is independent of Q for p

    C. W. J. Beenakker, J. P. Dahlhaus, M. Wimmer, and A. R. Akhmerov

  47. Quantized conductance at the Majorana phase transition in a disordered superconducting wire [+]

    Superconducting wires without time-reversal and spin-rotation symmetries can be driven into a topological phase that supports Majorana bound states. Direct detection of these zero-energy states is complicated by the proliferation of low-lying excitations in a disordered multi-mode wire. We show that the phase transition itself is signaled by a quantized thermal conductance and electrical shot noise power, irrespective of the degree of disorder. In a ring geometry, the phase transition is signaled by a period doubling of the magnetoconductance oscillations. These signatures directly follow from the identification of the sign of the determinant of the reflection matrix as a topological quantum number.

    A. R. Akhmerov, J. P. Dahlhaus, F. Hassler, M. Wimmer, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  48. Geodesic scattering by surface deformations of a topological insulator [+]

    We consider the classical ballistic dynamics of massless electrons on the conducting surface of a three-dimensional topological insulator, influenced by random variations of the surface height. By solving the geodesic equation and the Boltzmann equation in the limit of shallow deformations, we obtain the scattering cross section and the conductivity {\sigma}, for arbitrary anisotropic dispersion relation. At large surface electron densities n this geodesic scattering mechanism (with {\sigma} propto sqrt{n}) is more effective at limiting the surface conductivity than electrostatic potential scattering.

    J. P. Dahlhaus, C.-Y. Hou, A. R. Akhmerov, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  49. Flat-lens focusing of electrons on the surface of a topological insulator [+]

    We propose the implementation of an electronic Veselago lens on the conducting surface of a three-dimensional topological insulator (such as Bi2Te3). The negative refraction needed for such a flat lens results from the sign change of the curvature of the Fermi surface, changing from a circular to a snowflake-like shape across a sufficiently large electrostatic potential step. No interband transition (as in graphene) is needed. For this reason, and because the topological insulator provides protection against backscattering, the potential step is able to focus a broad range of incident angles. We calculate the quantum interference pattern produced by a point source, generalizing the analogous optical calculation to include the effect of a noncircular Fermi surface (having a nonzero conic constant).

    F. Hassler, A. R. Akhmerov, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  50. Anyonic interferometry without anyons: How a flux qubit can read out a topological qubit [+]

    Proposals to measure non-Abelian anyons in a superconductor by quantum interference of vortices suffer from the predominantly classical dynamics of the normal core of an Abrikosov vortex. We show how to avoid this obstruction using coreless Josephson vortices, for which the quantum dynamics has been demonstrated experimentally. The interferometer is a flux qubit in a Josephson junction circuit, which can nondestructively read out a topological qubit stored in a pair of anyons --- even though the Josephson vortices themselves are not anyons. The flux qubit does not couple to intra-vortex excitations, thereby removing the dominant restriction on the operating temperature of anyonic interferometry in superconductors.

    F. Hassler, A. R. Akhmerov, C.-Y. Hou, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  51. Topological quantum computation away from the ground state with Majorana fermions [+]

    We relax one of the requirements for topological quantum computation with Majorana fermions. Topological quantum computation was discussed so far as manipulation of the wave function within degenerate many body ground state. The simplest particles providing degenerate ground state, Majorana fermions, often coexist with extremely low energy excitations, so keeping the system in the ground state may be hard. We show that the topological protection extends to the excited states, as long as the Majorana fermions do not interact neither directly, nor via the excited states. This protection relies on the fermion parity conservation, and so it is generic to any implementation of Majorana fermions.

    A. R. Akhmerov

  52. Robustness of edge states in graphene quantum dots [+]

    We analyze the single particle states at the edges of disordered graphene quantum dots. We show that generic graphene quantum dots support a number of edge states proportional to circumference of the dot over the lattice constant. Our analytical theory agrees well with numerical simulations. Perturbations breaking electron-hole symmetry like next-nearest neighbor hopping or edge impurities shift the edge states away from zero energy but do not change their total amount. We discuss the possibility of detecting the edge states in an antidot array and provide an upper bound on the magnetic moment of a graphene dot.

    M. Wimmer, A. R. Akhmerov, and F. Guinea

  53. Majorana bound states without vortices in topological superconductors with electrostatic defects [+]

    Vortices in two-dimensional superconductors with broken time-reversal and spin-rotation symmetry can bind states at zero excitation energy. These socalled Majorana bound states transform a thermal insulator into a thermal metal and may be used to encode topologically protected qubits. We identify an alternative mechanism for the formation of Majorana bound states, akin to the way in which Shockley states are formed on metal surfaces: An atomic-scale electrostatic line defect can have a pair of Majorana bound states at the end points. The Shockley mechanism explains the appearance of a thermal metal in vortex-free lattice models of chiral p-wave superconductors and (unlike the vortex mechanism) is also operative in the topologically trivial phase.

    M. Wimmer, A. R. Akhmerov, M. V. Medvedyeva, J. Tworzydło, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  54. Absence of a metallic phase in charge-neutral graphene with a random gap [+]

    It is known that fluctuations in the electrostatic potential allow for metallic conduction (nonzero conductivity in the limit of an infinite system) if the carriers form a single species of massless two-dimensional Dirac fermions. A nonzero uniform mass $\bar{M}$ opens up an excitation gap, localizing all states at the Dirac point of charge neutrality. Here we investigate numerically whether fluctuations $\delta M \gg \bar{M} \neq 0$ in the mass can have a similar effect as potential fluctuations, allowing for metallic conduction at the Dirac point. Our negative conclusion confirms earlier expectations, but does not support the recently predicted metallic phase in a random-gap model of graphene.

    J. H. Bardarson, M. V. Medvedyeva, J. Tworzydło, A. R. Akhmerov, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  55. Theory of non-Abelian Fabry-Perot interferometry in topological insulators [+]

    Interferometry of non-Abelian edge excitations is a useful tool in topological quantum computing. In this paper we present a theory of a non-Abelian edge state interferometer in a 3D topological insulator brought in proximity to an s-wave superconductor. The non-Abelian edge excitations in this system have the same statistics as in the previously studied 5/2 fractional quantum Hall (FQH) effect and chiral p-wave superconductors. There are however crucial differences between the setup we consider and these systems, like the need for a converter between charged and neutral excitations and the neutrality of the non-Abelian excitations. These differences manifest themselves in a temperature scaling exponent of -7/4 for the conductance instead of -3/2 as in the 5/2 FQH effect.

    J. Nilsson and A. R. Akhmerov

  56. Domain wall in a chiral p-wave superconductor: a pathway for electrical current [+]

    Superconductors with p+ip pairing symmetry are characterized by chiral edge states, but these are difficult to detect in equilibrium since the resulting magnetic field is screened by the Meissner effect. Nonequilibrium detection is hindered by the fact that the edge excitations are unpaired Majorana fermions, which cannot transport charge near the Fermi level. Here we show that the boundary between p_x+ip_y and p_x-ip_y domains forms a one-way channel for electrical charge. We derive a product rule for the domain wall conductance, which allows to cancel the effect of a tunnel barrier between metal electrodes and superconductor and provides a unique signature of topological superconductors in the chiral p-wave symmetry class.

    I. Serban, B. Béri, A. R. Akhmerov, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  57. Pseudodiffusive transmission of nodal Dirac fermions through a clean d-wave superconductor [+]

    We calculate the transmission of electrons and holes between two normal-metal electrodes (N), separated over a distance L by an impurity-free superconductor (S) with d-wave symmetry of the order parameter. Nodal lines of vanishing excitation gap form ballistic conduction channels for coupled electron-hole excitations, described by an anisotropic two-dimensional Dirac equation. We find that the transmitted electrical and thermal currents, at zero energy, both have the pseudodiffusive 1/L scaling characteristic of massless Dirac fermions - regardless of the presence of tunnel barriers at the NS interfaces. Tunnel barriers reduce the slope of the 1/L scaling in the case of the electrical current, while leaving the thermal current unaffected.

    J. K. Asboth, A. R. Akhmerov, A. C. Berceanu, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  58. Theory of the topological Anderson insulator [+]

    We present an effective medium theory that explains the disorder-induced transition into a phase of quantized conductance, discovered in computer simulations of HgTe quantum wells. It is the combination of a random potential and quadratic corrections proportional to p² sigma_z to the Dirac Hamiltonian that can drive an ordinary band insulator into a topological insulator (having an inverted band gap). We calculate the location of the phase boundary at weak disorder and show that it corresponds to the crossing of a band edge rather than a mobility edge. Our mechanism for the formation of a topological Anderson insulator is generic, and would apply as well to three-dimensional semiconductors with strong spin-orbit coupling.

    C. W. Groth, M. Wimmer, A. R. Akhmerov, J. Tworzydło, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  59. Switching of electrical current by spin precession in the first Landau level of an inverted-gap semiconductor [+]

    We show how the quantum Hall effect in an inverted-gap semiconductor (with electron- and hole-like states at the conduction- and valence-band edges interchanged) can be used to inject, precess, and detect the electron spin along a one-dimensional pathway. The restriction of the electron motion to a single spatial dimension ensures that all electrons experience the same amount of precession in a parallel magnetic field, so that the full electrical current can be switched on and off. As an example, we calculate the magnetoconductance of a p-n interface in a HgTe quantum well and show how it can be used to measure the spin precession due to bulk inversion asymmetry.

    A. R. Akhmerov, C. W. Groth, J. Tworzydło, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  60. Electrically detected interferometry of Majorana fermions in a topological insulator [+]

    We show how a chiral Dirac fermion (a massless electron or hole) can be converted into a pair of neutral chiral Majorana fermions (a particle equal to its own antiparticle). These two types of fermions exist on the metallic surface of a topological insulator, respectively, at a magnetic domain wall and at a magnet-superconductor interface. Interferometry of Majorana fermions is a key operation in topological quantum computation, but the detection is problematic since these particles have no charge. The Dirac-Majorana converter enables electrical detection of the interferometric signal.

    A. R. Akhmerov, J. Nilsson, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  61. Quantum Goos-Hänchen effect in graphene [+]

    The Goos-Hänchen (GH) effect is an interference effect on total internal reflection at an interface, resulting in a shift sigma of the reflected beam along the interface. We show that the GH effect at a p-n interface in graphene depends on the pseudospin (sublattice) degree of freedom of the massless Dirac fermions, and find a sign change of sigma at angle of incidence alpha*=arcsin[sin alpha_c]^1/2 determined by the critical angle alpha_c for total reflection. In an n-doped channel with p-doped boundaries the GH effect doubles the degeneracy of the lowest propagating mode, introducing a two-fold degeneracy on top of the usual spin and valley degeneracies. This can be observed as a stepwise increase by 8e²/h of the conductance with increasing channel width.

    C. W. J. Beenakker, R. A. Sepkhanov, A. R. Akhmerov, and J. Tworzydło

  62. Nonalgebraic length dependence of transmission through a chain of barriers with a Lévy spacing distribution [+]

    The recent realization of a "Lévy glass" (a three-dimensional optical material with a Lévy distribution of scattering lengths) has motivated us to analyze its one-dimensional analogue: A linear chain of barriers with independent spacings s that are Lévy distributed: p(s)~1/s^(1+alpha) for s to infinity. The average spacing diverges for 0

    C. W. J. Beenakker, C. W. Groth, and A. R. Akhmerov

  63. Splitting of a Cooper pair by a pair of Majorana bound states [+]

    Majorana bound states are spatially localized superpositions of electron and hole excitations in the middle of a superconducting energy gap. A single qubit can be encoded nonlocally in a pair of spatially separated Majorana bound states. Such Majorana qubits are in demand as building blocks of a topological quantum computer, but direct experimental tests of the nonlocality remain elusive. Here we propose a method to probe the nonlocality by means of crossed Andreev reflection, which is the injection of an electron into one bound state followed by the emission of a hole by the other bound state (equivalent to the splitting of a Cooper pair over the two states). We have found that, at sufficiently low excitation energies, this nonlocal scattering process dominates over local Andreev reflection involving a single bound state. As a consequence, the low-temperature and low-frequency fluctuations $\delta I_{i}$ of currents into the two bound states $i=1,2$ are maximally correlated: $\overline{\delta I_{1}\delta I_{2}}=\overline{\delta I_{i²}}$.

    J. Nilsson, A. R. Akhmerov, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  64. Theory of the valley-valve effect in graphene nanoribbons [+]

    A potential step in a graphene nanoribbon with zigzag edges is shown to be an intrinsic source of intervalley scattering -- no matter how smooth the step is on the scale of the lattice constant a. The valleys are coupled by a pair of localized states at the opposite edges, which act as an attractor/repellor for edge states propagating in valley K/K'. The relative displacement Delta along the ribbon of the localized states determines the conductance G. Our result G=(e²}/h)[1-\cos(N\pi+2\pi\Delta/3a)] explains why the ``valley-valve'' effect (the blocking of the current by a p-n junction) depends on the parity of the number N of carbon atoms across the ribbon.

    A. R. Akhmerov, J. H. Bardarson, A. Rycerz, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  65. Boundary conditions for Dirac fermions on a terminated honeycomb lattice [+]

    We derive the boundary condition for the Dirac equation corresponding to a tight-binding model on a two-dimensional honeycomb lattice terminated along an arbitary direction. Zigzag boundary conditions result generically once the boundary is not parallel to the bonds. Since a honeycomb strip with zigzag edges is gapless, this implies that confinement by lattice termination does not in general produce an insulating nanoribbon. We consider the opening of a gap in a graphene nanoribbon by a staggered potential at the edge and derive the corresponding boundary condition for the Dirac equation. We analyze the edge states in a nanoribbon for arbitrary boundary conditions and identify a class of propagating edge states that complement the known localized edge states at a zigzag boundary.

    A. R. Akhmerov and C. W. J. Beenakker

  66. Correspondence between Andreev reflection and Klein tunneling in bipolar graphene [+]

    Andreev reflection at a superconductor and Klein tunneling through an n-p junction in graphene are two processes that couple electrons to holes -- the former through the superconducting pair potential Delta and the latter through the electrostatic potential U. We derive that the energy spectra in the two systems are identical, at low energies E<

    C. W. J. Beenakker, A. R. Akhmerov, P. Recher, and J. Tworzydło

  67. Valley-isospin dependence of the quantum Hall effect in a graphene p-n junction [+]

    We calculate the conductance G of a bipolar junction in a graphene nanoribbon, in the high-magnetic field regime where the Hall conductance in the p-doped and n-doped regions is 2e²/h. In the absence of intervalley scattering, the result G=(e²/h)(1-cos Ф) depends only on the angle Ф between the valley isospins (= Bloch vectors representing the spinor of the valley polarization) at the two opposite edges. This plateau in the conductance versus Fermi energy is insensitive to electrostatic disorder, while it is destabilized by the dispersionless edge state which may exist at a zigzag boundary. A strain-induced vector potential shifts the conductance plateau up or down by rotating the valley isospin.

    J. Tworzydło, I. Snyman, A. R. Akhmerov, and C. W. J. Beenakker

  68. Detection of valley polarization in graphene by a superconducting contact [+]

    Because the valleys in the band structure of graphene are related by time-reversal symmetry, electrons from one valley are reflected as holes from the other valley at the junction with a superconductor. We show how this Andreev reflection can be used to detect the valley polarization of edge states produced by a magnetic field. In the absence of intervalley relaxation, the conductance G_NS=2(e²/h)(1-cos(Theta)) of the junction on the lowest quantum Hall plateau is entirely determined by the angle Theta between the valley isospins of the edge states approaching and leaving the superconductor. If the superconductor covers a single edge, Theta=0 and no current can enter the superconductor. A measurement of G_NS then determines the intervalley relaxation time.

    A. R. Akhmerov and C. W. J. Beenakker

  69. Pseudo-diffusive conduction at the Dirac point of a normal-superconductor junction in graphene [+]

    A ballistic strip of graphene (width W>> length L) connecting two normal metal contacts is known to have a minimum conductivity of 4e²}/pi h at the Dirac point of charge neutrality. We calculate what happens if one of the two contacts becomes superconducting. While the ballistic conductance away from the Dirac point is increased by Andreev reflection at the normal-superconductor (NS) interface, we find that the minimum conductivity stays the same. This is explained as a manifestation of pseudo-diffusive conduction at the Dirac point. As a generalization of our results for a ballistic system, we provide a relation between the conductance G_NS of an arbitrarily disordered normal-superconductor junction in graphene and its value G_N when both contacts are in the normal state.

    A. R. Akhmerov and C. W. J. Beenakker

  70. Universal temperature dependence of the conductivity of a strongly disordered granular metal [+]

    A disordered array of metal grains with large and random intergrain conductances is studied within the one-loop accuracy renormalization group approach. While at low level of disorder the dependence of conductivity on log T is nonuniversal (it depends on details of the array's geometry), for strong disorder this dependence is described by a universal nonlinear function, which depends only on the array's dimensionality. In two dimensions this function is found numerically. The dimensional crossover in granular films is discussed.

    A. R. Akhmerov and A. S. Ioselevich