A unified theory of spin-relaxation due to spin-orbit coupling in metals and semiconductors

Péter Boross, Balázs Dóra, Annamária Kiss, Ferenc Simon

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33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Spintronics is an emerging paradigm with the aim to replace conventional electronics by using electron spins as information carriers. Its utility relies on the magnitude of the spin-relaxation, which is dominated by spin-orbit coupling (SOC). Yet, SOC induced spin-relaxation in metals and semiconductors is discussed for the seemingly orthogonal cases when inversion symmetry is retained or broken by the so-called Elliott-Yafet and D'yakonov-Perel' spin-relaxation mechanisms, respectively. We unify the two theories on general grounds for a generic two-band system containing intra-and inter-band SOC. While the previously known limiting cases are recovered, we also identify parameter domains when a crossover occurs between them, i.e. when an inversion symmetry broken state evolves from a D'yakonov-Perel' to an Elliott-Yafet type of spin-relaxation and conversely for a state with inversional symmetry. This provides an ultimate link between the two mechanisms of spin-relaxation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3233
JournalScientific reports
Volume3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 29 2013

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