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Interplay of spin-orbit coupling and superconducting correlations in germanium telluride thin films

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Nguyen, TA 
Mussler, G 


There is much current interest in combining superconductivity and spin-orbit coupling in order to induce the topological superconducting phase and associated Majorana-like quasiparticles which hold great promise towards fault-tolerant quantum computing. Experimentally these effects have been combined by the proximity-coupling of superconducting leads and high spin-orbit materials such as InSb and InAs, or by controlled Cu-doping of topological insulators such as Bi2Se3. However, for practical purposes, a single-phase material which intrinsically displays both these effects is highly desirable. Here we demonstrate coexisting superconducting correlations and spin-orbit coupling in molecular-beam-epitaxy-grown thin films of GeTe. The former is evidenced by a precipitous low-temperature drop in the electrical resistivity which is quelled by a magnetic field, and the latter manifests as a weak antilocalisation (WAL) cusp in the magnetotransport. Our studies reveal several other intriguing features such as the presence of two-dimensional rather than bulk transport channels below 2 K, possible signatures of topological SC, and unexpected hysteresis in the magnetotransport. Our work demonstrates GeTe to be a potential host of topological SC and Majorana-like excitations, and to be a versatile platform to develop quantum information device architectures.



GeTe, spin-orbit coupling, superconductivity, weak antilocalization, thin films

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Physica Status Solidi - Rapid Research Letters

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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/J003417/1)
V.N., T.-A.N and R.M. acknowledge funding from EPSRC (UK) and the Leverhulme Trust, UK. G.M. acknowledges financial support from the DFG-funded priority programme SPP1666. VN acknowledges useful discussions with Niladri Banerjee, David English, and Edmund Owen.