Gapless topological Fulde-Ferrell superfluidity induced by an in-plane Zeeman field
Topological superfluids are recently discovered quantum matter that hosts topologically protected gapless edge states known as Majorana fermions—exotic quantum particles that act as their own antiparticles and obey non-Abelian statistics. Their realizations are believed to lie at the heart of future technologies such as fault-tolerant quantum computation. To date, the most efficient scheme to create topological superfluids and Majorana fermions is based on the Sau-Lutchyn-Tewari-Das Sarma model with a Rashba-type spin-orbit coupling on the x-y plane and a large out-of-plane (perpendicular) Zeeman field along the z direction. Here we propose an alternative setup, where the topological superfluid phase is driven by applying an in-plane Zeeman field. This scheme offers a number of different features, notably Cooper pairings at finite center-of-mass momentum (i.e., Fulde-Ferrell pairing) and gapless excitations in the bulk. As a result, gapless topological quantum matter with an inhomogeneous pairing order parameter appears. It features unidirectional Majorana surface states at boundaries, which propagate in the same direction and connect two Weyl nodes in the bulk. We demonstrate the emergence of such exotic topological matter and the associated Majorana fermions in spin-orbit coupled atomic Fermi gases, and we determine its parameter space. The implementation of our scheme in semiconductor/superconductor heterostructures is briefly discussed.