Surface states, edge currents, and the angular momentum of chiral p-wave superfluids

J. A. Sauls*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


The spectra of fermionic excitations, pairing correlations, and edge currents confined near the boundary of a chiral p-wave superfluid are calculated to leading order in /p fξ. Results for the energy- and momentum-resolved spectral functions, including the spectral current density, of a chiral p-wave superfluid near a confining boundary are reported. The spectral functions reveal the subtle role of the chiral edge states in relation to the edge current and the angular momentum of a chiral p-wave superfluid, including the rapid suppression of L z(T) for 0 T T c in the fully gapped two-dimensional chiral superfluid. The edge current and ground-state angular momentum are shown to be sensitive to boundary conditions, and as a consequence the topology and geometry of the confining boundaries. For perfect specular boundaries, the edge current accounts for the ground-state angular momentum, L z=(N/2), of a cylindrical disk of a chiral superfluid with N/2 fermion pairs. Nonspecular scattering can dramatically suppress the edge current. In the limit of perfect retroreflection, the edge states form a flat band of zero modes that are nonchiral and generate no edge current. For a chiral superfluid film confined in a cylindrical toroidal geometry, the ground-state angular momentum is, in general, nonextensive, and can have a value ranging from L z(N/2) to L z<-(N/2) depending on the ratio of the inner and outer radii and the degree of backscattering on the inner and outer surfaces. Nonextensive scaling of L z, and the reversal of the ground-state angular momentum for a toroidal geometry, would provide a signature of broken time-reversal symmetry of the ground state of superfluid 3He-A, as well as direct observation of chiral edge currents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number214509
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number21
StatePublished - Dec 7 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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