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Spin precession in spin-orbit coupled weak links: Coulomb repulsion and Pauli quenching,

Journal article
Authors Robert I. Shekhter
Ora Entin-Wohlman
Mats Jonson
Amnon Aharony
Published in Physical Review B Condensed Matter
Volume 96
Issue 24
Pages 241412(R)
ISSN 0163-1829
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Physics (GU)
Pages 241412(R)
Language en
Keywords Josephson effect, Rashba spin-orbit interaction, spin splitting
Subject categories Mesoscopic physics, Superconductivity


A simple model for the transmission of pairs of electrons through a weak electric link in the form of a nanowire made of a material with strong electron spin-orbit interaction (SOI) is presented, with emphasis on the effects of Coulomb interactions and the Pauli exclusion principle. The constraints due to the Pauli principle are shown to “quench” the coherent SOI-induced precession of the spins when the spatial wave packets of the two electrons overlap significantly. The quenching, which results from the projection of the pair’s spin states onto spin-up and spin-down states on the link, breaks up the coherent propagation in the link into a sequence of coherent hops that add incoherently. Applying the model to the transmission of Cooper pairs between two superconductors, we find that in spite of Pauli quenching, the Josephson current oscillates with the strength of the SOI, but may even change its sign (compared to the limit of Coulomb blockade, when the quenching is absent). Conditions for an experimental detection of these features are discussed.

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