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Engineering topological materials

It’s been a while I’ve submitted something with experimentalists, yet it has happened, rather fast and unexpected. Volia!

The ω-SQUIPT: phase-engineering of Josephson topological materials

E. Strambini, S. D’Ambrosio, F. Vischi, F. S. Bergeret, Yu. V. Nazarov, F. Giazotto

Multi-terminal superconducting Josephson junctions based on the proximity effect offer the bright opportunity to tailor non trivial quantum states in nanoscale weak-links. These structures can realize exotic topologies in multidimensions as, for example, artificial topological superconductors able to support Majorana bound states, and pave the way to emerging quantum technologies and future quantum information schemes. Here, we report the first realization of a three-terminal Josephson interferometer based on a proximized nanosized weak-link. Our tunneling spectroscopy measurements reveal transitions between gapped (i.e., insulating) and gapless (i.e., conducting) states, those being controlled by the phase configuration of the three superconducting leads connected to the junction. We demonstrate the topological nature of these transitions: a gapless state necessarily occurs between two gapped states of different topological index, very much like the interface between two insulators of different topology is necessarily conducting. The topological numbers characterizing such gapped states are given by superconducting phase windings over the two loops forming the Josephson interferometer. Since these gapped states cannot be transformed to one another continuously withouth passing through a gapless condition, these are topologically protected. Our observation of the gapless state is pivotal for enabling phase engineering of more sophisticated artificial topological materials realizing Weyl points or the anomalous Josephson effect.

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