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Journal Articles Scientific Reports Year : 2023

Spin-polarized Majorana zero modes in proximitized superconducting penta-silicene nanoribbons

Abstract

We theoretically propose penta-silicene nanoribbons (p-SiNRs) with induced p-wave superconductivity as a platform for the emergence of spin-polarized Majorana zero-modes (MZMs). The model explicitly considers the key ingredients of well-known Majorana hybrid nanowire setups: Rashba spin-orbit coupling, magnetic field perpendicular to the nanoribbon plane, and first nearest neighbor hopping with p-wave superconducting pairing. The energy spectrum of the system, as a function of chemical potential, reveals the existence of MZMs with a well-defined spin orientation localized at the opposite ends of both the top and bottom chains of the p-SiNR, associated with well-localized and nonoverlapping wave function profiles. Well-established experimental techniques enable the fabrication of highly ordered p-SiNRs, complemented by a thin lead film on top, responsible for inducing p-wave superconductivity through proximity effect. Moreover, the emergence of MZMs with explicit opposite spin orientations for some set of model parameters opens a new avenue for exploring quantum computing operations, which accounts for both MZMs and spin properties, as well as for new MZMs probe devices based on spin-polarized electronic transport mechanisms. Ultra-scaling of nanoelectronic devices, beyond Moore's law, still using the ubiquitous silicon technology, could come from silicene 1-3 , the first silicon-based graphene-like artificial two-dimensional (2D) quantum material, which further engendered the Xenes family 4 , and which was used to fabricate an atom-thin channel in a field effect transistor 5, 6. Moreover, topological silicon nanowires hosting Majorana fermions could be a materials platform for a quantum computer 7. However, like other nanowire candidates, even proximitized ones based on heavier constituents with larger spin-orbit coupling, until now, no conclusive experimental measurements guarantee incontrovertibly the existence of topologically protected Majorana zero modes (MZMs) for the possible realization of qubits 8, 9. Since the appearance of the generic Kitaev model 10 , several platforms were proposed to realize it, both from theoretical 11-17 , and experimental points of view 18-24. A helpful review of the experimental state-of-the-art on this subject can be found in Refs. 9, 25, 26. This model considers p-wave superconductor pairing between electrons in different sites of a one-dimensional chain (Kitaev chain) and predicts the existence of unpaired MZMs at opposite ends of a finite Kitaev chain. However, until now, there are no conclusive experimental measurements that guarantee without doubt the existence of topologically protected MZMs 26-30. The experimental detection of MZMs remains an elusive problem, and they were not really observed until now. Per se, this situation justifies the search for new platforms. One possible alternative platform is the one-dimensional honeycomb nanoribbons (HNRs) that have been receiving growing attention in the literature 31-34. Nevertheless, the mono-elemental 2D graphene-like materials coined Xenes, where X represents elements from group IIIA to group VIA of the periodic table, could constitute
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hal-04264948 , version 1 (30-10-2023)

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R C Bento Ribeiro, J H Correa, L S Ricco, I A Shelykh, Mucio A Continentino, et al.. Spin-polarized Majorana zero modes in proximitized superconducting penta-silicene nanoribbons. Scientific Reports, 2023, 13, ⟨10.1038/s41598-023-44739-7⟩. ⟨hal-04264948⟩

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