Quantum phase fluctuations and density of states in superconducting nanowires
We argue that quantum fluctuations of the phase of the order parameter may strongly affect the electron density of states (DOS) in ultrathin superconducting wires. We demonstrate that the effect of such fluctuations is equivalent to that of a quantum dissipative environment formed by soundlike plasma modes propagating along the wire. We derive a nonperturbative expression for the local electron DOS in superconducting nanowires which fully accounts for quantum phase fluctuations. At any nonzero temperature these fluctuations smear out the square-root singularity in DOS near the superconducting gap and generate quasiparticle states at subgap energies. Furthermore, at sufficiently large values of the wire impedance this singularity is suppressed down to T=0 in which case DOS tends to zero at subgap energies and exhibits the power-law behavior above the gap. Our predictions can be directly tested in tunneling experiments with superconducting nanowires.