Spin orbit interactions give rise to interesting physics phenomena in solid state materials such as the spin Hall effect (SHE) and topological insulator surface states. Those effects have been extensively studied using various electrical detection methods. However, to date most experiments focus only on characterizing electrons near the Fermi surface, while spin-orbit interaction is expected to be energy dependent. Here we developed a tunneling spectroscopy technique to measure spin Hall materials and topological insulators under finite bias voltages. By electrically injecting spin polarized electrons into spin Hall metals or topological insulators using tunnel junctions and measuring the induced transverse voltage, we are able to study SHE in typical 5d transition metals and the spin momentum locking in topological insulators. For spin Hall effect metals, the magnitude of the spin Hall angle has been a highly controversial topic in previous studies. Results obtained from various techniques can differ by more than an order of magnitude. Our results from this transport measurement turned out to be consistent with the values obtained from spin Hall torque measurements, which can help to address the long debating issue. Besides the magnitude, the voltage dependent spectra from our experiment also provide useful information in distinguishing between different potential mechanisms. Finally, because of the impedance matching capability of tunnel junctions, the spin polarized tunneling technique can also be used as a powerful tool to measure resistive materials such as the topological insulators. Orders of magnitude improvement in the effective spin Hall angle was demonstrated through our measurement
Luqiao Liu, "Spin polarized tunneling study on spin hall metals and topological insulators
(Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9931, Spintronics IX, 99310Y (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 28, 2016; Published: 4 November 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2256860.5166910712001.
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