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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Field-free platform for Majorana-like zero mode in superconductors with a topological surface state


Superconducting materials exhibiting topological properties are emerging as an exciting platform to realize fundamentally new excitations from topological quantum states of matter. In this letter, we explore the possibility of a field-free platform for generating Majorana zero energy excitations by depositing magnetic Fe impurities on the surface of candidate topological superconductors, LiFeAs and PbTaSe2. We use scanning tunneling microscopy to probe localized states induced at the Fe adatoms on the atomic scale and at sub-Kelvin temperatures. We find that each Fe adatom generates a striking zero-energy bound state inside the superconducting gap, which do not split in magnetic fields up to 8 T, underlining a nontrivial topological origin. Our findings point to magnetic Fe adatoms evaporated on bulk superconductors with topological surface states for exploring Majorana zero modes and quantum information science under field-free conditions.

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