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A New Spin On Superconductivity Prof. Amir Yacoby

Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 11:15 to 12:30 Auditorium

Mesoscopic physics, pioneered by Joe Imry nearly 4 decades ago, explores the behavior of matter on length scales where dimensionality, coherence, and interactions compete to produce material properties that are fundamentally different from their bulk counterparts. For example, the conventional wisdom of superconductivity, developed in 1957 by Bardeen, Cooper and Schrieffer (BCS) describes this state in terms of a condensate of electron pairs arranged in a spatially isotropic wave function with no net momentum or angular momentum (a spin-singlet configuration). However, on mesoscopic length scales entirely different types of superconductivity may be realized such as unconventional pairing where electrons are arranged in triplet rather than singlet configurations. Such superconductors may enable dissipationless transport of spin and may also give rise to elementary excitations that do not obey the conventional Fermi or Bose statistics but rather have non-Abelian statistics where the exchange of two particles transforms the state of the system into a new quantum mechanical state. In this talk I will describe some of our recent work that explores the proximity effect between a conventional superconductor and a semiconductor with strong spin-orbit interaction. Using supercurrent interference, we show that we can tune the induced superconductivity continuously from conventional to unconventional, that is from singlet to triplet. Our results open up new possibilities for exploring unconventional superconductivity as well as provide an exciting new pathway for exploring non-Abelian excitation.