Full-gap superconductivity in spin-polarized surface states of topological semimetal $\beta$-PdBi$_2$

14 Nov 2017  ·  Iwaya K., Kohsaka Y., Okawa K., Machida T., Bahramy M. S., Hanaguri T., Sasagawa T. ·

A bulk superconductor possessing a topological surface state at the Fermi level is a promising system to realize long-sought topological superconductivity. Although several candidate materials have been proposed, experimental demonstrations concurrently exploring spin textures and superconductivity at the surface have remained elusive... Here we perform spectroscopic-imaging scanning tunnelling microscopy on the centrosymmetric superconductor $\beta$-PdBi$_2$ that hosts a topological surface state. By combining first-principles electronic-structure calculations and quasiparticle interference experiments, we determine the spin textures at the surface, and show not only the topological surface state but also all other surface bands exhibit spin polarizations parallel to the surface. We find that the superconducting gap fully opens in all the spin-polarized surface states. This behaviour is consistent with a possible spin-triplet order parameter expected for such in-plane spin textures, but the observed superconducting gap amplitude is comparable to that of the bulk, suggesting that the spin-singlet component is predominant in $\beta$-PdBi$_2$. read more

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Superconductivity Materials Science