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Room-temperature electron spin polarization exceeding 90% in an opto-spintronic semiconductor nanostructure via remote spin filtering

Abstract

An exclusive advantage of semiconductor spintronics is its potential for opto-spintronics, which will allow integration of spin-based information processing/storage with photon-based information transfer/communications. Unfortunately, progress has so far been severely hampered by the failure to generate nearly fully spin-polarized charge carriers in semiconductors at room temperature. Here we demonstrate successful generation of conduction electron spin polarization exceeding 90% at room temperature without a magnetic field in a non-magnetic all-semiconductor nanostructure, which remains high even up to 110 °C. This is accomplished by remote spin filtering of InAs quantum-dot electrons via an adjacent tunnelling-coupled GaNAs spin filter. We further show that the quantum-dot electron spin can be remotely manipulated by spin control in the adjacent spin filter, paving the way for remote spin encoding and writing of quantum memory as well as for remote spin control of spin–photon interfaces. This work demonstrates the feasibility to implement opto-spintronic functionality in common semiconductor nanostructures.

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Fig. 1: State-of-art spin generation in semiconductor materials.
Fig. 2: Principle of the defect-enabled remote spin filtering.
Fig. 3: Generation of record-high electron spin polarization at room temperature via remote spin filtering.
Fig. 4: Room temperature QD spin dynamics and effect of tunnelling barrier thickness.
Fig. 5: Room temperature remote spin manipulation of QD electrons by the spin precession of conduction band and defect electrons in GaNAs.

Data availability

All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article and its Supplementary Information.

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Acknowledgements

W.M.C. acknowledges support from the Swedish Research Council (grant nos. 2016-05091 and 2020-04530) and from the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT) (grant no. JA2014-5698); I.A.B. from the Swedish Research Council (grant nos. 2015-05532 and 2019-04312); W.M.C. and I.A.B. from Linköping University through the Professor Contracts and the Swedish Government Strategic Research Area in Materials Science on Functional Materials at Linköping University (Faculty Grant SFO-Mat-LiU no. 2009-00971); M.G. from the European Research Council, ERC AdG AMETIST (grant no. 695116) and from the Academy of Finland, NanoLight project (grant no. 310985); T.H. from the Academy of Finland QuantSi project (grant no. 323989); A.M. from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) (grant nos. 16H06359 and 19H05507, and bilateral program); S.H. from JSPS (grant no. 19K15380). M.G. thanks M. Raappana for atomic force microscopy characterization and E. Anttola for samples preparation.

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Authors

Contributions

W.M.C. conceived and coordinated the project. Y.Q.H. and P.J. conducted continuous-wave optical and magnetooptical experiments and analysed the data under the supervision of W.M.C. and I.A.B. The fabrication process of the experimental samples was developed by V.P., A.A. and T.H. under the supervision of M.G. Epitaxy and XRD characterization was performed by R.I. and A.A. S.H., S.S., J.T. and Y.Q.H. performed time-resolved optical and magnetooptical experiments and analysed data under the supervision of A.M., I.A.B. and W.M.C. Y.Q.H. and W.M.C. wrote the manuscript, with contributions from all other co-authors.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Yuqing Huang or Weimin M. Chen.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Peer review information Nature Photonics thanks Xinyu Liu and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figures 1–16, Table 1 and Notes.

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Huang, Y., Polojärvi, V., Hiura, S. et al. Room-temperature electron spin polarization exceeding 90% in an opto-spintronic semiconductor nanostructure via remote spin filtering. Nat. Photonics 15, 475–482 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-021-00786-y

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