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Phys Rev Lett. 2010 Oct 22;105(17):177002. Epub 2010 Oct 20.

Helical liquids and Majorana bound states in quantum wires.

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Department of Condensed Matter Physics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


We show that the combination of spin-orbit coupling with a Zeeman field or strong interactions may lead to the formation of a helical electron liquid in single-channel quantum wires, with spin and velocity perfectly correlated. We argue that zero-energy Majorana bound states are formed in various situations when such wires are situated in proximity to a conventional s-wave superconductor. This occurs when the external magnetic field, the superconducting gap, or, most simply, the chemical potential vary along the wire. These Majorana states do not require the presence of a vortex in the system. Experimental consequences of the helical liquid and the Majorana states are also discussed.

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