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Disorder effects on Majorana zero modes: Kitaev chain versus semiconductor nanowire

TitleDisorder effects on Majorana zero modes: Kitaev chain versus semiconductor nanowire
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsH. Pan, and D. S. Sarma
JournalPhys. Rev. B
Date PublishedJUN 2
Type of ArticleArticle

Majorana zero modes in a superconductor-semiconductor nanowire have been extensively studied during the past decade. Disorder remains a serious problem, preventing the definitive observation of topological Majorana bound states. Thus, it is worthwhile to revisit the simple model, the Kitaev chain, and study the effects of weak and strong disorder on the Kitaev chain. By comparing the role of disorder in a Kitaev chain with that in a nanowire, we find that disorder affects both systems but in a nonuniversal manner. In general, disorder has a much stronger effect on the nanowire than the Kitaev chain, particularly for weak to intermediate disorder. For strong disorder, both the Kitaev chain and nanowire manifest random featureless behavior due to universal Anderson localization. Only the vanishing and strong disorder regimes are thus universal, manifesting respectively topological superconductivity and Anderson localization, but the experimentally relevant intermediate disorder regime is nonuniversal with the details dependent on the disorder realization in the system.