Tailoring emergent spin phenomena in Dirac material heterostructures.
ABSTRACT: Dirac materials such as graphene and topological insulators (TIs) are known to have unique electronic and spintronic properties. We combine graphene with TIs in van der Waals heterostructures to demonstrate the emergence of a strong proximity-induced spin-orbit coupling in graphene. By performing spin transport and precession measurements supported by ab initio simulations, we discover a strong tunability and suppression of the spin signal and spin lifetime due to the hybridization of graphene and TI electronic bands. The enhanced spin-orbit coupling strength is estimated to be nearly an order of magnitude higher than in pristine graphene. These findings in graphene-TI heterostructures could open interesting opportunities for exploring exotic physical phenomena and new device functionalities governed by topological proximity effects.
Project description:Unique electronic spin textures in topological states of matter are promising for emerging spin-orbit driven memory and logic technologies. However, there are several challenges related to the enhancement of their performance, electrical gate-tunability, interference from trivial bulk states, and heterostructure interfaces. We address these challenges by integrating two-dimensional graphene with a three-dimensional topological insulator (TI) in van der Waals heterostructures to take advantage of their remarkable spintronic properties and engineer proximity-induced spin-charge conversion phenomena. In these heterostructures, we experimentally demonstrate a gate-tunable spin-galvanic effect (SGE) at room temperature, allowing for efficient conversion of a non-equilibrium spin polarization into a transverse charge current. Systematic measurements of SGE in various device geometries via a spin switch, spin precession, and magnetization rotation experiments establish the robustness of spin-charge conversion in the Gr-TI heterostructures. Importantly, using a gate voltage, we reveal a strong electric field tunability of both amplitude and sign of the spin-galvanic signal. These findings provide an efficient route for realizing all-electrical and gate-tunable spin-orbit technology using TIs and graphene in heterostructures, which can enhance the performance and reduce power dissipation in spintronic circuits.
Project description:Graphene was the first material predicted to realize a topological insulator (TI), but unfortunately the gap is unobservably small due to carbon's weak spin-orbital coupling (SOC). Based on first-principles calculations, we propose a stable sp-sp(2) hybrid carbon network as a graphene analog whose electronic band structures in proximity of the Fermi level are characterized by Dirac cones. We demonstrate that this unique carbon framework has topologically nontrivial electronic structures with the Z2 topological invariant of v = 1 which is quite promising for hosting the quantum spin Hall effect (QSHE) in an experimentally accessible low temperature regime (<7 K). This provides a viable approach for searching for new TIs in 2D carbon allotropes.
Project description:Topological insulators (TIs) are enticing prospects for the future of spintronics due to their large spin-orbit coupling and dissipationless, counter-propagating conduction channels in the surface state. However, a means to interact with and exploit the topological surface state remains elusive. Here, we report a study of spin pumping at the TI-ferromagnet interface, investigating spin transfer dynamics in a spin-valve like structure using element specific time-resolved x-ray magnetic circular dichroism, and ferromagnetic resonance. Gilbert damping increases approximately linearly with increasing TI thickness, indicating efficient behaviour as a spin sink. However, layer-resolved measurements suggest that a dynamic coupling is limited. These results shed new light on the spin dynamics of this novel material class, and suggest great potential for TIs in spintronic devices, through their novel magnetodynamics that persist even up to room temperature.
Project description:The concept of the topological insulator (TI) has introduced a new point of view to condensed-matter physics, relating a priori unrelated subfields such as quantum (spin, anomalous) Hall effects, spin-orbit coupled materials, some classes of nodal superconductors, superfluid 3He, etc. From a technological point of view, TIs are expected to serve as platforms for realizing dissipationless transport in a non-superconducting context. The TI exhibits a gapless surface state with a characteristic conic dispersion (a surface Dirac cone). Here, we review peculiar finite-size effects applicable to such surface states in TI nanostructures. We highlight the specific electronic properties of TI nanowires and nanoparticles, and in this context we contrast the cases of weak and strong TIs. We study the robustness of the surface and the bulk of TIs against disorder, addressing the physics of Dirac and Weyl semimetals as a new research perspective in the field.
Project description:Topological electronics is a new field that uses topological charges as current-carrying degrees of freedom. For topological electronics applications, systems should host topologically distinct phases to control the topological domain boundary through which the topological charges can flow. Due to their multiple Dirac cones and the ?-Berry phase of each Dirac cone, graphene-like electronic structures constitute an ideal platform for topological electronics; graphene can provide various topological phases when incorporated with large spin-orbit coupling and mass-gap tunability via symmetry-breaking. Here, we propose that a (111)-oriented BaBiO3 bilayer (BBL) sandwiched between large-gap perovskite oxides is a promising candidate for topological electronics by realizing a gap-tunable, and consequently a topology-tunable, graphene analogue. Depending on how neighboring perovskite spacers are chosen, the inversion symmetry of the BBL heterostructure can be either conserved or broken, leading to the quantum spin Hall (QSH) and quantum valley Hall (QVH) phases, respectively. BBL sandwiched by ferroelectric compounds enables switching of the QSH and QVH phases and generates the topological domain boundary. Given the abundant order parameters of the sandwiching oxides, the BBL can serve as versatile topological building blocks in oxide heterostructures.
Project description:We have performed a systematic investigation of the nature of the nontrivial interface states in topological/normal insulator (TI/NI) heterostructures. On the basis of first principles and a recently developed scheme to construct ab initio effective Hamiltonian matrices from density functional theory calculations, we studied systems of realistic sizes with high accuracy and control over the relevant parameters such as TI and NI band alignment, NI gap, and spin-orbit coupling strength. Our results for IV-VI compounds show the interface gap tunability by appropriately controlling the NI thickness, which can be explored for device design. Also, we verified the preservation of an in-plane spin texture in the interface-gaped topological states.
Project description:Van der Waals heterostructures have become a paradigm for designing new materials and devices in which specific functionalities can be tailored by combining the properties of the individual 2D layers. A single layer of transition-metal dichalcogenide (TMD) is an excellent complement to graphene (Gr) because the high quality of charge and spin transport in Gr is enriched with the large spin-orbit coupling of the TMD via the proximity effect. The controllable spin-valley coupling makes these heterostructures particularly attractive for spintronic and opto-valleytronic applications. In this work, we study spin precession in a monolayer MoSe2/Gr heterostructure and observe an unconventional, dramatic modulation of the spin signal, showing 1 order of magnitude longer lifetime of out-of-plane spins compared to that of in-plane spins (?? ? 40 ps and ?? ? 3.5 ps). This demonstration of a large spin lifetime anisotropy in TMD/Gr heterostructures, is a direct evidence of induced spin-valley coupling in Gr and provides an accessible route for manipulation of spin dynamics in Gr, interfaced with TMDs.
Project description:Despite considerable interest in two-dimensional (2D) topological insulators (TIs), a fundamental question still remains open how mesoscopic conductance fluctuations in 2D TIs are affected by spin-orbit interaction (SOI). Here, we investigate the effect of SOI on the universal conductance fluctuation (UCF) in disordered 2D TIs. Although 2D TI exhibits UCF like any metallic systems, the amplitude of these fluctuations is distinguished from that of conventional spin-orbit coupled 2D materials. Especially, in 2D systems with mirror symmetry, spin-flip scattering is forbidden even in the presence of strong intrinsic SOI, hence increasing the amplitude of the UCF by a factor of √2 compared with extrinsic SOI that breaks mirror symmetry. We propose an easy way to experimentally observe the existence of such spin-flip scattering in 2D materials. Our findings provide a key to understanding the emergence of a new universal behavior in 2D TIs.
Project description:Two-dimensional heterostructures with strong spin-orbit coupling have direct relevance to topological quantum materials and potential applications in spin-orbitronics. In this work, we report on novel quantum phenomena in [Pb2BiS3][AuTe2], a new 2D strong spin-orbit coupling heterostructure system. Transport measurements reveal the spin-related carrier scattering is at odds with the Abrikosov-Gorkov model due to strong spin-orbit coupling. This is consistent with our band structure calculations which reveal a large spin-orbit coupling gap of ?so?=?0.21?eV. The band structure is also characterized by helical-like spin textures which are mainly induced by strong spin-orbit coupling and the inversion symmetry breaking in the heterostructure system.
Project description:The protected electron states at the boundaries or on the surfaces of topological insulators (TIs) have been the subject of intense theoretical and experimental investigations. Such states are enforced by very strong spin-orbit interaction in solids composed of heavy elements. Here, we study the composite particles-chiral excitons-formed by the Coulomb attraction between electrons and holes residing on the surface of an archetypical 3D TI, [Formula: see text] Photoluminescence (PL) emission arising due to recombination of excitons in conventional semiconductors is usually unpolarized because of scattering by phonons and other degrees of freedom during exciton thermalization. On the contrary, we observe almost perfectly polarization-preserving PL emission from chiral excitons. We demonstrate that the chiral excitons can be optically oriented with circularly polarized light in a broad range of excitation energies, even when the latter deviate from the (apparent) optical band gap by hundreds of millielectronvolts, and that the orientation remains preserved even at room temperature. Based on the dependences of the PL spectra on the energy and polarization of incident photons, we propose that chiral excitons are made from massive holes and massless (Dirac) electrons, both with chiral spin textures enforced by strong spin-orbit coupling. A theoretical model based on this proposal describes quantitatively the experimental observations. The optical orientation of composite particles, the chiral excitons, emerges as a general result of strong spin-orbit coupling in a 2D electron system. Our findings can potentially expand applications of TIs in photonics and optoelectronics.