The combination of superconductivity and the helical spin-momentum locking at the surface state of a topological insulator (TI) has been predicted to give rise to p-wave superconductivity and Majorana bound states. The superconductivity can be induced by the proximity effect of a s-wave superconductor (S) into the TI. To probe the superconducting correlations inside the TI, dI/dV spectroscopy has been performed across such S-TI interfaces. Both the alloyed Bi1.5Sb0.5Te1.7Se1.3 and the stoichiometric BiSbTeSe2 have been used as three-dimensional TI. In the case of Bi1.5Sb0.5Te1.7Se1.3, the presence of disorder induced electron-electron interactions can give rise to an additional zero-bias resistance peak. For the stoichiometric BiSbTeSe2 with less disorder, tunnel barriers were employed in order to enhance the signal from the interface. The general observations in the spectra of a large variety of samples are conductance dips at the induced gap voltage, combined with an increased sub-gap conductance, consistent with p-wave predictions. The induced gap voltage is typically smaller than the gap of the Nb superconducting electrode, especially in the presence of an intentional tunnel barrier. Additional uncovered spectroscopic features are oscillations that are linearly spaced in energy, as well as a possible second order parameter component.
- conductance spectroscopy
- p-wave symmetry
- topological superconductivity