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The Coexistence of Superconductivity and Topological Order in the Bi2Se3 Thin Films

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Science  15 Mar 2012:
1216466
DOI: 10.1126/science.1216466

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Abstract

Three-dimensional topological insulators (TIs) are characterized by their nontrivial surface states in which electrons have their spin locked at a right angle to their momentum under the protection of time reversal symmetry. The topologically ordered phase in TIs does not break any symmetry. The interplay between topological order and symmetry breaking such as observed in superconductivity can lead to new quantum phenomena and devices. We fabricate a superconducting TI/Superconductor (SC) heterostructure by growing Bi2Se3 thin films on superconductor NbSe2 substrate. Using scanning tunneling microscopy and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy, we observed the superconducting gap at Bi2Se3 surface in the regime of Bi2Se3 film thickness where topological surface states form. This observation lays the groundwork for experimentally realizing Majorana fermions in condensed matter physics.

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