Proximity-induced superconductivity on topological insulator thin films

Type of project

Competition funded PhD projects

Supervisor(s)

Contact Dr Satoshi Sasaki to discuss this project further informally.

Project description

The search for Majorana fermions (MF) has been one of the most prominent subjects in physics. One of important aspects of the MFs is that they are their own antiparticles, and therefore mysterious uncharged quasiparticles that can create a zero-mode Majorana state bounded at zero energy at the middle of superconducting gap. Zero-mode MFs obey non-Abelian exchange statistics which would be used for topological quantum computation technology. There are theoretically two main routes to realize MFs by combining superconductivity with a strong SOI: proximity-induced superconductivity in a strong spin-orbit coupled material such as topological insulators (TI) in close contact with conventional superconductor, or bulk topological superconductors where the surface or edge may host Majorana modes.

In this project, the candidate will study Majorana physics via the first route; proximity-induced superconductivity on topological crystalline insulator (TCI) Tin telluride (SnTe), a cousin of TIs in close contact with indium-doped SnTe (Sn1-xInxTe), superconducting TCI. This heterostructure with the best lattice matching grown by molecular beam epitaxy in ultrahigh vacuum, a part of a new multi-deposition system in Leeds would provide a promising platform to learn fundamental Majorana physics and fabricate Josephson junction devices that would host MFs.

This is a project in an exciting and very active research area which allows us to closely interact and collaborate with other research teams in the University of Leeds including a theoretical group. We are looking for a motivated student with a background in physics, physical chemistry, or material science.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements Applications are invited from candidates with, or expecting, a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2:1) in a relevant discipline, a Master's degree in a relevant discipline, or both.

How to apply

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements.

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the university's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the PhD you wish to be considered for is 'Proximity-induced superconductivity on topological insulator thin films' as well as Dr Satoshi Sasaki as your proposed supervisor.

We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates.  All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.

If you require any further information please contact the Graduate School Office
e: physics.pg.admissions@leeds.ac.uk