The spin–orbit interaction couples the electrons’ motion to their spin. As a result, a charge current running through a material with strong spin–orbit coupling generates a transverse spin current (spin Hall effect, SHE) and vice versa (inverse spin Hall effect, ISHE). The emergence of SHE and ISHE as charge-to-spin interconversion mechanisms offers a variety of novel spintronic functionalities and devices, some of which do not require any ferromagnetic material. However, the interconversion efficiency of SHE and ISHE (spin Hall angle) is a bulk property that rarely exceeds ten percent, and does not take advantage of interfacial and low-dimensional effects otherwise ubiquitous in spintronic hetero- and mesostructures. In our recent study just out in Nature Materials, we make use of an interface-driven spin–orbit coupling mechanism—the Rashba effect—in the oxide two-dimensional electron system (2DES) LaAlO3/SrTiO3 to achieve spin-to-charge conversion with unprecedented efficiency. Through spin pumping, we inject a spin current from a NiFe film into the oxide 2DES and detect the resulting charge current, which can be strongly modulated by a gate voltage. We discuss the amplitude of the effect and its gate dependence on the basis of the electronic structure of the 2DES and highlight the importance of a long scattering time to achieve ecient spin-to-charge interconversion.
This work was done in collaboration with the Spintec lab (CNRS/Univ. Grenoble Alpes).
Highly efficient and tunable spin to charge conversion through Rashba coupling at oxide interfaces
E. Lesne et al, Nature Mater. 15, 1261 (2016)
See also the News and Views piece by S. Caprara.