Research ArticlePHYSICS

Acoustic spin Hall effect in strong spin-orbit metals

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Science Advances  06 Jan 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 2, eabd9697
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd9697

Abstract

We report on the observation of the acoustic spin Hall effect that facilitates lattice motion–induced spin current via spin-orbit interaction (SOI). Under excitation of surface acoustic wave (SAW), we find that a spin current flows orthogonal to the SAW propagation in nonmagnetic metals (NMs). The acoustic spin Hall effect manifests itself in a field-dependent acoustic voltage in NM/ferromagnetic metal bilayers. The acoustic voltage takes a maximum when the NM layer thickness is close to its spin diffusion length, vanishes for NM layers with weak SOI, and increases linearly with the SAW frequency. To account for these results, we find that the spin current must scale with the SOI and the time derivative of the lattice displacement. These results, which imply the strong coupling of electron spins with rotating lattices via the SOI, show the potential of lattice dynamics to supply spin current in strong spin-orbit metals.

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