Electrostatic control of the proximity effect in the bulk of semiconductor-superconductor hybrids

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The proximity effect in semiconductor-superconductor nanowires is expected to generate an induced gap in the semiconductor. The magnitude of this induced gap, together with the semiconductor properties like spin-orbit coupling and g-factor, depends on the coupling between the materials. It is predicted that this coupling can be adjusted through the use of electric fields. We study this phenomenon in InSb/Al/Pt hybrids using nonlocal spectroscopy. We show that these hybrids can be tuned such that the semiconductor and superconductor are strongly coupled. In this case, the induced gap is similar to the superconducting gap in the Al/Pt shell and closes only at high magnetic fields. In contrast, the coupling can be suppressed which leads to a strong reduction of the induced gap and critical magnetic field. At the crossover between the strong-coupling and weak-coupling regimes, we observe the closing and reopening of the induced gap in the bulk of a nanowire. Contrary to expectations, it is not accompanied by the formation of zero-bias peaks in the local conductance spectra. As a result, this cannot be attributed conclusively to the anticipated topological phase transition and we discuss possible alternative explanations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3325
Number of pages9
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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