Yu-Shiba-Rusinov bound states versus topological edge states in Pb/Si(111)


G. C. Ménard, et al., “Yu-Shiba-Rusinov bound states versus topological edge states in Pb/Si(111)”, The European Physical Journal Special Topics, vol. 227, p. 2303–2313, 2019.


There is presently a tremendous activity around the field of topological superconductivity and Majorana fermions. Among the many questions raised, it has become increasingly important to establish the topological or non-topological origin of features associated with Majorana fermions such as zero-bias peaks. Here, we compare in-gap features associated either with isolated magnetic impurities or with magnetic clusters strongly coupled to the atomically thin superconductor Pb/Si(111). We study this system by means of scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy (STM/STS). We take advantage of the fact that the Pb/Si(111) monolayer can exist either in a crystal-ordered phase or in an incommensurate disordered phase to compare the observed spectroscopic features in both phases. This allows us to demonstrate that the strongly resolved in-gap states we found around the magnetic clusters in the disordered phase of Pb have a clear topological origin.