Review Article | Published:

New perspectives for Rashba spin–orbit coupling

Nature Materials volume 14, pages 871882 (2015) | Download Citation

Abstract

In 1984, Bychkov and Rashba introduced a simple form of spin–orbit coupling to explain the peculiarities of electron spin resonance in two-dimensional semiconductors. Over the past 30 years, Rashba spin–orbit coupling has inspired a vast number of predictions, discoveries and innovative concepts far beyond semiconductors. The past decade has been particularly creative, with the realizations of manipulating spin orientation by moving electrons in space, controlling electron trajectories using spin as a steering wheel, and the discovery of new topological classes of materials. This progress has reinvigorated the interest of physicists and materials scientists in the development of inversion asymmetric structures, ranging from layered graphene-like materials to cold atoms. This Review discusses relevant recent and ongoing realizations of Rashba physics in condensed matter.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank E.I. Rashba, M.I. Dyakonov, D. Xiao, L. Fritz and A.H. MacDonald for useful discussions. A.M. was supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). H.C.K. was supported by the KIST and KU-KIST Institutional Programmes. J.N. acknowledges support by the Grants-in-Aid from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS; no. 22226001). S.M.F. acknowledges ONR BRC on Majorana Fermions, National Science Foundation (NSF), Sloan Foundation, the Charles E. Kaufman foundation and Nanoscience Foundation. R.A.D. is supported by the Stichting voor Fundamenteel Onderzoek der Materie (FOM), the European Research Council (ERC) and is part of the D-ITP consortium, a programme of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) that is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW).

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Affiliations

  1. King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Physical Science and Engineering Division, Thuwal 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia

    • A. Manchon
  2. Center for Spintronics, Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), 39-1 Hawolgok-dong, Seongbukgu, Seoul 136-791, Korea

    • H. C. Koo
  3. KU-KIST Graduate School of Converging Science and Technology, Korea University, Seoul 136-701, Korea

    • H. C. Koo
  4. Department of Materials Science, Tohoku University, 980-8579 Sendai, Miyagi, Japan

    • J. Nitta
  5. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260, USA

    • S. M. Frolov
  6. Institute for Theoretical Physics and Center for Extreme Matter and Emergent Phenomena, Utrecht University, Leuvenlaan 4, 3584 CE Utrecht, The Netherlands

    • R. A. Duine

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