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Edge states in Chern Insulators and Majorana fermions in topological superconductors

Abstract : This thesis follows two threads in the field of topological insulators and superconductors. The first part of the thesis is devoted to the study of two-dimensional quantum anomalous Hall insulators on a lattice, in the absence of an external magnetic flux, but induced by an inhomogeneous flux in the unit cell. The system possesses several gapped phases characterized by a topological invariant, the Chern number, that is related to the conductance carried by the edge states. Here we show that two-band models admit an arbitrary large number of Chern phases or, equivalently, an arbitrary number of edge states, by adding hopping between distant neighbor sites. This result is based on a formula proving that the Chern number of a band depends on certain properties of a finite set of points in the Brillouin zone, i.e. the Dirac points for the gapless system. These ideas are made more concrete in the study of a modified Haldane model, and also by creating an artificial model with five Chern phases, whose edge states are determined in detail. The second part of the thesis focuses on one-dimensional topological superconductors with exotic zero-energy edge states: the Majorana bound states. Here we investigate the presence of Majorana fermions in spin-orbit coupled semiconducting wire in proximity to an s-wave superconductor. We show that the spin-polarization of the electronic degrees of freedom in the Majorana wave function depends on the relative weight of Dresselhaus and Rashba spin-orbit couplings. We also investigate Majorana fermions in linear superconductor-normal and long superconductor-normal-superconductor (SNS) junctions where they appear as extended states in the normal junction. Furthermore, ring geometries can be mapped to an SNS junction, and, we have shown that under the action of superconducting phases gradients, extended Majorana fermions can form again inside the normal wire. Finally a two-band model with multiple Majorana fermions is treated and we show that Josephson junctions built from this model maintain the 4π periodicity for the fractional Josephson effect, one of Majorana fermions signatures.
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Submitted on : Monday, January 7, 2013 - 12:35:35 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, June 25, 2022 - 10:08:51 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00770666, version 1

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Doru Sticlet. Edge states in Chern Insulators and Majorana fermions in topological superconductors. Other [cond-mat.other]. Université Paris Sud - Paris XI, 2012. English. ⟨NNT : 2012PA112318⟩. ⟨tel-00770666⟩

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