"Nonsinusoidal Current-Phase Relationship in Josephson Junctions from the 3D Topological Insulator HgTe"

Ilya Sochnikov: Luis Maier, Christopher A. Watson, John R. Kirtley, Charles Gould, Grigory Tkachov, Ewelina M. Hankiewicz, Christoph Brüne, Hartmut Buhmann, Laurens W. Molenkamp, and Kathryn A. Moler; Physical Review Letters, 02/09/2015.

Additional Authors: Luis Maier, Christopher A. Watson, John R. Kirtley, Charles Gould, Grigory Tkachov, Ewelina M. Hankiewicz, Christoph Brüne, Hartmut Buhmann, Laurens W. Molenkamp, and Kathryn A. Moler

Abstract:

We use superconducting quantum interference device microscopy to characterize the current-phase relation (CPR) of Josephson junctions from the three-dimensional topological insulator HgTe (3D HgTe). We find clear skewness in the CPRs of HgTe junctions ranging in length from 200 to 600 nm. The skewness indicates that the Josephson current is predominantly carried by Andreev bound states with high transmittance, and the fact that the skewness persists in junctions that are longer than the mean free path suggests that the effect may be related to the helical nature of the Andreev bound states in the surface of HgTe. These experimental results suggest that the topological properties of the normal state can be inherited by the induced superconducting state, and that 3D HgTe is a promising material for realizing the many exciting proposals that require a topological superconductor.