Quantum phase transitions in superconductor-quantum-dot-superconductor Josephson structures with attractive intradot interaction

Yu-Chun Hsu*, Wu-Jing Chen, Chien-Te Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

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We theoretically study the superconducting proximity effect in a quantum dot coupled to two superconducting leads when the intradot interaction between electrons is made attractive. Because of the superconducting proximity effect, the electronic states for the embedded quantum dot are either spin-polarized states with an odd occupation number or BCS-like states with an even occupation number. We show that in the presence of an external magnetic field, the system can exhibit quantum phase transitions of fermion parity associated with the occupation number. In this paper, we adopt a self-consistent theoretical method to extend our considerations beyond the so-called superconducting atomic limit in which the superconducting gap for the leads is assumed to be the largest energy scale. This method enables us to numerically investigate the electronic structure of the dot as a result of the attractive interaction. For energy phase diagrams in the regime away from the atomic limit, we find a reentrant behavior where a BCS-like phase of the dot exists in an intermediate range of the hybridization strength between the quantum dot and the leads. We also consider Josephson current-phase relations and identify a number of examples showing 0-pi phase transitions that may offer important switching effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number214507
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number21
StatePublished - 21 Dec 2020



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