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Proposal for Measuring the Parity Anomaly in a Topological Superconductor Ring

TitleProposal for Measuring the Parity Anomaly in a Topological Superconductor Ring
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsC-X. Liu, W. S. Cole, and J. D. Sau
JournalPhys. Rev. Lett.
Date PublishedMAR 22
Type of ArticleArticle

A topological superconductor ring is uniquely characterized by a switch in the ground state fermion number parity upon insertion of one superconducting flux quantum-a direct consequence of the topological ``parity anomaly.{''} Despite the many other tantalizing signatures and applications of topological superconductors, this fundamental, defining property remains to be observed experimentally. Here we propose definitive detection of the fermion parity switch from the charging energy, temperature, and tunnel barrier dependence of the flux periodicity of two-terminal conductance of a floating superconductor ring. We extend the Ambegaokar-Eckern-Schon formalism for superconductors with a Coulomb charging energy to establish new explicit relationships between thermodynamic and transport properties of such a ring and the topological invariant of the superconductor. Crucially, we show that the topological contribution to the conductance oscillations can be isolated from Aharonov-Bohm oscillations of nontopological origin by their different dependence on the charging energy or barrier transparency.