Single fermion manipulation via superconducting phase differences in multiterminal Josephson junctions

B. van Heck, S. Mi, A. R. Akhmerov
2014 Physical Review B  
We show how the superconducting phase difference in a Josephson junction may be used to split the Kramers degeneracy of its energy levels and to remove all the properties associated with time reversal symmetry. The superconducting phase difference is known to be ineffective in two-terminal short Josephson junctions, where irrespective of the junction structure the induced Kramers degeneracy splitting is suppressed and the ground state fermion parity must stay even, so that a protected
more » ... protected zero-energy Andreev level crossing may never appear. Our main result is that these limitations can be completely avoided by using multi-terminal Josephson junctions. There the Kramers degeneracy breaking becomes comparable to the superconducting gap, and applying phase differences may cause the change of the ground state fermion parity from even to odd. We prove that the necessary condition for the appearance of a fermion parity switch is the presence of a "discrete vortex" in the junction: the situation when the phases of the superconducting leads wind by 2π. Our approach offers new strategies for creation of Majorana bound states as well as spin manipulation. Our proposal can be implemented using any low density, high spin-orbit material such as InAs quantum wells, and can be detected using standard tools.
doi:10.1103/physrevb.90.155450 fatcat:mqphqkvpjjad7o5k7w5xfb7bny