Spintronics without magnets: Spin-optics and Diffuse emission

Arcadi Shekhter The Weizmann Institute of Science

Abstract: We describe how to spin-polarize ballistic electrons in a two-dimensional semiconductor heterostructure with a field-effect gate control of the spin-orbit interaction. In the suggested scheme (which we term spin-optics), a beam of electrons splits in two spin-polarized components propagating in different directions. The phenomenon of the spin-dependent refraction of the electrons is similar to the birefringence of light in crystal optics. We outline possible devices based on the spin-optics approach, including spin filter and spin switch. We also discuss how the phenomenon of the diffuse emission can help the realization of this approach.
  "Spin Polarization of Electrons by Nonmagnetic Heterostructures: The Basics of Spin Optics", Phys.Rev.Lett. 92, 086602 (2004).
  "Diffuse emission in the presence of an inhomogeneous spin-orbit interaction for the purpose of spin filtration", Phys.Rev.B 71, 125114 (2005).