Spin Hall effect in prototype Rashba ferroelectrics GeTe and SnTe


Wang, H; Gopal, P; Picozzi, S; Curtarolo, S; Buongiorno Nardelli, M; Sławińska, J


© 2020, The Author(s). Ferroelectric Rashba semiconductors (FERSCs) have recently emerged as a promising class of spintronics materials. The peculiar coupling between spin and polar degrees of freedom responsible for several exceptional properties, including ferroelectric switching of Rashba spin texture, suggests that the electron’s spin could be controlled by using only electric fields. In this regard, recent experimental studies revealing charge-to-spin interconversion phenomena in two prototypical FERSCs, GeTe and SnTe, appear extremely relevant. Here, by employing density functional theory calculations, we investigate spin Hall effect (SHE) in these materials and show that it can be large either in ferroelectric or paraelectric structure. We further explore the compatibility between doping required for the practical realization of SHE in semiconductors and polar distortions which determine Rashba-related phenomena in FERSCs, but which could be suppressed by free charge carriers. Based on the analysis of the lone pairs which drive ferroelectricity in these materials, we have found that the polar displacements in GeTe can be sustained up to a critical hole concentration of over ~1021/cm3, while the tiny distortions in SnTe vanish at a minimal level of doping. Finally, we have estimated spin Hall angles for doped structures and demonstrated that the spin Hall effect could be indeed achieved in a polar phase. We believe that the confirmation of spin Hall effect, Rashba spin textures and ferroelectricity coexisting in one material will be helpful for design of novel all-in-one spintronics devices operating without magnetic fields.


Wang, H., P. Gopal, S. Picozzi, S. Curtarolo, M. Buongiorno Nardelli, and J. Sławińska. “Spin Hall effect in prototype Rashba ferroelectrics GeTe and SnTe.” Npj Computational Materials 6, no. 1 (December 1, 2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41524-020-0274-0.

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