Spin-orbit-based device for electron spin polarization

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9 Scopus citations


We propose quantum devices having spin-orbit coupling (but no magnetic fields or magnetic materials) that, when attached to leads, yield a high degree of transmitted electron polarization. An example of such a simple device is treated within a tight binding model composed of two one-dimensional chains coupled by several consecutive rungs (i.e., a ladder) and subject to a gate voltage. The ensuing scattering problem (with Rashba spin-orbit coupling) is solved, and a sizable polarization is predicted. When the ladder is twisted into a helix (as in DNA), the curvature energy augments the polarization. For a system with random spin-orbit coupling, the distribution of polarization is broad; hence a high degree of polarization can be obtained in a measurement of a given disorder realization. When disorder occurs in a double helix structure then, depending on scattering energy, the variance of the polarization distribution can increase even further due to helix curvature.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104429
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number10
StatePublished - 21 Mar 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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