Research ArticleCONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS

Hierarchical spin-orbital polarization of a giant Rashba system

Science Advances  25 Sep 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 8, e1500495
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500495

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Abstract

The Rashba effect is one of the most striking manifestations of spin-orbit coupling in solids and provides a cornerstone for the burgeoning field of semiconductor spintronics. It is typically assumed to manifest as a momentum-dependent splitting of a single initially spin-degenerate band into two branches with opposite spin polarization. Combining polarization-dependent and resonant angle-resolved photoemission measurements with density functional theory calculations, we show that the two “spin-split” branches of the model giant Rashba system BiTeI additionally develop disparate orbital textures, each of which is coupled to a distinct spin configuration. This necessitates a reinterpretation of spin splitting in Rashba-like systems and opens new possibilities for controlling spin polarization through the orbital sector.

Keywords
  • spintronics
  • Rashba
  • BiTeI
  • Spin-orbit coupling
  • Angle-resolved photoemission
  • Electronic structure
  • Orbital texture

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