SUPERCONDUCTIVITY

Controlling superconducting pairing

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Science  28 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6311, pp. 430-431
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6311.430-e

Interfacing superconductors with materials that have strong spin-orbit coupling can modify the superconductivity in unusual ways. Hart et al. sandwiched a HgTe quantum well between two superconducting leads, forming a junction. Normally, Cooper pairs—whose formation makes materials superconductive—consist of electrons of opposite momenta. Applying a magnetic field in the plane of the well, combined with an unusual electronic spin texture in HgTe, caused the Cooper pairs in the junction to acquire a nonzero total momentum. By comparing their data to theoretical models, the researchers were able to probe the nature of spin-orbit coupling in the system.

Nat. Phys. 10.1038/NPHYS3877 (2016).

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