Research ArticleAPPLIED SCIENCES AND ENGINEERING

Layer- and gate-tunable spin-orbit coupling in a high-mobility few-layer semiconductor

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Science Advances  29 Jan 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 5, eabe2892
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abe2892

Abstract

Spin-orbit coupling (SOC) is a relativistic effect, where an electron moving in an electric field experiences an effective magnetic field in its rest frame. In crystals without inversion symmetry, it lifts the spin degeneracy and leads to many magnetic, spintronic, and topological phenomena and applications. In bulk materials, SOC strength is a constant. Here, we demonstrate SOC and intrinsic spin splitting in atomically thin InSe, which can be modified over a broad range. From quantum oscillations, we establish that the SOC parameter α is thickness dependent; it can be continuously modulated by an out-of-plane electric field, achieving intrinsic spin splitting tunable between 0 and 20 meV. Unexpectedly, α could be enhanced by an order of magnitude in some devices, suggesting that SOC can be further manipulated. Our work highlights the extraordinary tunability of SOC in 2D materials, which can be harnessed for in operando spintronic and topological devices and applications.

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