We study a heterostructure which consists of a topological insulator and a superconductor with a hole. The hole pins a vortex. The system supports a robust Majorana fermion state bound to the vortex core. We investigate the possibility of using scanning tunneling spectroscopy (i) to detect the Majorana fermion in the proposed setup and (ii) to study excited states bound to the vortex core. The Majorana fermion manifests itself as a magnetic-field-dependent zero-bias anomaly of the tunneling conductance. Optimal parameters for detecting Majorana fermions have been obtained. In the optimal regime, the Majorana fermion is separated from the excited states by a substantial gap. The number of zero-energy states equals the number of flux quanta in the hole; thus, the strength of the zero-bias anomaly depends on the magnetic field. The lowest energy excitations bound to the core are also studied. The excited states spectrum differs from the spectrum of a typical Abrikosov vortex, providing additional indirect confirmation of the Majorana state observation.
|Journal||Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|Publication status||Published - 11 Feb 2014|