Volume 118, Number 5, June 2017
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Section||Condensed Matter: Electronic Structure, Electrical, Magnetic and Optical Properties|
|Published online||16 August 2017|
Giant edge spin accumulation in a symmetric quantum well with two subbands
1 Department of Physics, University at Buffalo, SUNY - Buffalo, NY 14260-1500, USA
2 Instituto de Física de São Carlos, Universidade de São Paulo - 13560-970, São Carlos, São Paulo, Brazil
Received: 26 May 2017
Accepted: 20 July 2017
We have studied the edge spin accumulation due to an electric current in a high mobility two-dimensional electron gas formed in a symmetric well with two subbands. This study is strongly motivated by the recent experiment of Hernandez et al. (Phys. Rev. B, 88 (2013) 161305(R)) who demonstrated the spin accumulation near the edges of a symmetric bilayer GaAs structure in contrast to no effect in a single-layer configuration. The intrinsic mechanism of the spin-orbit (SO) interaction we consider arises from the coupling between two subband states of opposite parities. We obtain a parametrically large magnitude of the edge spin density for a two-subband well as compared to the usual single-subband structure. We show that the presence of a gap in the system, i.e., the energy separation Δ between the two subband bottoms, changes drastically the picture of the edge spin accumulation. The gap value governs the effective strength of the inter-subband SO interaction which provides a controllable crossover from the regime of weak spin accumulation to the regime of the strong one by varying the Fermi energy (electron density) and/or Δ. We estimate that by changing the gap Δ from zero up to 1–2 K, the magnitude of the effect changes by three orders of magnitude. This opens up the possibility for the design of new spintronic devices.
PACS: 72.25.-b – Spin polarized transport / 73.23.-b – Electronic transport in mesoscopic systems / 73.50.Bk – General theory, scattering mechanisms
© EPLA, 2017
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