Signatures of interaction-induced helical gaps in nanowire quantum point contacts

S. Heedt, N. Traverso Ziani, F. Crépin, W. Prost, St Trellenkamp, J. Schubert, D. Grützmacher, B. Trauzettel, Th Schäpers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


Spin-momentum locking in a semiconductor device with strong spin-orbit coupling (SOC) is thought to be an important prerequisite for the formation of Majorana bound states. Such a helical state is predicted in one-dimensional (1D) nanowires subject to strong Rashba SOC and spin-mixing - its hallmark being a characteristic re-entrant behaviour in the conductance. Here, we report direct experimental observations of the re-entrant conductance feature, which reveals the formation of a helical liquid, in the lowest 1D subband of an InAs nanowire. Surprisingly, the feature is very prominent also in the absence of magnetic fields. This behaviour suggests that exchange interactions have a substantial impact on transport in our device. We attribute the opening of the pseudogap to spin-flipping two-particle backscattering. The all-electric origin of the ideal helical transport could have important implications for topological quantum computing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-567
Number of pages5
JournalNature Physics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


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