Quantum dots proximity coupled to superconductors are attractive research platforms due to the intricate interplay between the single-electron nature of the dot and the many body nature of the superconducting state. These have been studied mostly using nanowires and carbon nanotubes, which allow a combination of tunability and proximity. Here we report a new type of quantum dot which allows proximity to a broad range of superconducting systems. The dots are realized as embedded defects within semiconducting tunnel barriers in van der Waals layers. By placing such layers on top of thin NbSe2, we can probe the Andreev bound state spectra of such dots up to high in-plane magnetic fields without observing the effects of a diminishing superconducting gap. As tunnel junctions defined on NbSe2 have a hard gap, we can map the subgap spectra without a background related to the rest of the junction. We find that the proximitized defect states invariably have a singlet ground state, manifest in the Zeeman splitting of the subgap excitation. We also find, in some cases, bound states that converge to zero energy and remain there. We discuss the role of the spin-orbit term, present both in the barrier and the superconductor, in the realization of such topologically trivial zero-energy states.
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© 2019 American Physical Society.