Germanium is a very good candidate to host a versatile spintronics platform thanks to its unique spin and optical properties. Recently we focused on two approaches in order to tune the spin-orbit interaction (SOI) in this Ge-based platform. The first one relies on growing high quality epitaxial topological insulators (TIs) on a Ge (111) substrate, we developed an original method to probe the spin-to-charge conversion at the TI/Ge(111) interface by taking advantage of the Ge optical properties. The latter approach is to exploit the intrinsic SOI of Ge (111). By investigating the electrical properties of a thin Ge(111), we found a large unidirectional Rashba magnetoresistance, which we ascribe to the interplay between the externally applied magnetic field and the current-induced pseudo-magnetic field applied in the spin-splitted subsurface states of Ge (111). Both studies open a door towards spin manipulation with electric fields in an all-semiconductor technology platform.
The aim of semiconductor spintronics is to exploit the spin degree of freedom of electrons to add new functionalities to electronic devices and boost their performances. The development of assets with the ability of efficiently injecting, transferring and detecting spins is a first step towards this goal. In this sense, a well established spin injection/detection scheme relies on an heavy metal grown on the top of a Ge substrate. The semiconductor is exploited to photogenerate spin-polarized carriers making use of the optical orientation technique. These carriers are then transferred to the heavy-metal layer where spin detection occurs by means of the inverse spin-Hall effect. A key point to get quantitative information from the investigation of such a platform is the knowledge of the total spin transferred from the semiconductor to the heavy-metal layer. Here, we address this problem by employing both an analytical and a numerical spin drift-diffusion model.