Evidence of topological superconductivity in planar Josephson junctions

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Majorana zero modes—quasiparticle states localized at the boundaries of topological superconductors—are expected to be ideal building blocks for fault-tolerant quantum computing1,2. Several observations of zero-bias conductance peaks measured by tunnelling spectroscopy above a critical magnetic field have been reported as experimental indications of Majorana zero modes in superconductor–semiconductor nanowires3–8. On the other hand, two-dimensional systems offer the alternative approach of confining Majorana channels within planar Josephson junctions, in which the phase difference φ between the superconducting leads represents an additional tuning knob that is predicted to drive the system into the topological phase at lower magnetic fields than for a system without phase bias9,10. Here we report the observation of phase-dependent zero-bias conductance peaks measured by tunnelling spectroscopy at the end of Josephson junctions realized on a heterostructure consisting of aluminium on indium arsenide. Biasing the junction to φ ≈ π reduces the critical field at which the zero-bias peak appears, with respect to φ = 0. The phase and magnetic-field dependence of the zero-energy states is consistent with a model of Majorana zero modes in finite-size Josephson junctions. As well as providing experimental evidence of phase-tuned topological superconductivity, our devices are compatible with superconducting quantum electrodynamics architectures11 and are scalable to the complex geometries needed for topological quantum computing9,12,13.