Supercurrent in the quantum Hall regime

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Science  20 May 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6288, pp. 966-969
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad6203

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Making a graphene super-edge

In superconductors, the electrical current is carried by “Cooper pairs,” formed out of an electron and a hole. This supercurrent will happily cross a thin barrier between two superconductors. But what if a strong magnetic field were applied at the barrier, forcing charge carriers to travel only along the edge of the barrier? Amet et al. explored this regime in a sample consisting of two superconducting electrodes and a graphene barrier under magnetic fields of up to 2 tesla (see the Perspective by Mason). Their transport measurements were consistent with a model in which the supercurrent was carried by the edge states in graphene.

Science, this issue p. 966; see also p. 891


A promising route for creating topological states and excitations is to combine superconductivity and the quantum Hall (QH) effect. Despite this potential, signatures of superconductivity in the QH regime remain scarce, and a superconducting current through a QH weak link has been challenging to observe. We demonstrate the existence of a distinct supercurrent mechanism in encapsulated graphene samples contacted by superconducting electrodes, in magnetic fields as high as 2 tesla. The observation of a supercurrent in the QH regime marks an important step in the quest for exotic topological excitations, such as Majorana fermions and parafermions, which may find applications in fault-tolerant quantum computing.

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