Spin-orbitronics, which takes advantage of spin-orbit coupling (SOC), has expanded the research objects of spintronics to nonmagnetic materials. Here, we report the emerging nonlinear spintronic phenomena in the inversion-asymmetric nonmagnetic materials with SOC. For instance, the surface state of three-dimensional topological insulator (TI) owns helical spin textures with the spin and momentum perpendicularly locked. We show the observation of a nonlinear magnetoresistance (called bilinear magneto-electric resistance, BMER) and nonlinear Hall effect in a prototypical TI Bi2Se3, which scale linearly with both the applied electric and magnetic fields. We further reveal that these effects are originated from the conversion of a nonlinear spin current to charge current under the application of an external magnetic field. A close link between the BMER and the spin texture was established in TI surface states, which enables a novel transport probe of spin textures. We further extended the observation of BMER effect to the d-orbital two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) at a SrTiO3 (STO) (111) surface. The BMER probes a three-fold out-of-plane spin texture, in addition to an in-plane one at the STO(111) surface 2DEG. This novel spin texture is in contrast to the conventional one induced by the Rashba effect. By performing tight-binding supercell calculations, we find that this 3D spin texture is fully described by the confinement effects of the STO t2g conduction band in the (111) plane. These findings open a new branch in spintronics, which discusses the nonlinear transport effects in spin-polarized nonmagnetic materials, and is therefore referred to as nonlinear spintronics.
While classical spintronics has traditionally relied on ferromagnetic metals as spin generators and spin detectors, spin-orbitronics exploits the interplay between charge and spin currents enabled by the spin-orbit coupling (SOC) in non-magnetic systems. An efficient spin-charge interconversion can be obtained through Spin Hall Effect and Inverse Spin Hall Effect in heavy metals such as Pt or Ta. Yet a more efficient conversion can be obtained by exploiting the direct and inverse Edelstein effects at interfaces where broken inversion symmetry induces a Rashba SOC. Although the simple Rashba picture of split parabolic bands is usually used to interpret such experiments, it fails to explain the largest conversion effects and their relation to the actual band-structure. Here, we demonstrate a giant spin-to-charge conversion effect by means of Spin Pumping FMR in an interface-engineered high-carrier-density SrTiO3 two-dimensional electron gas. We use angle-resolved photoemission and Boltzmann calculations to map its peculiar gate dependence. We show that the conversion process is amplified by enhanced Rashba-like splitting due to orbital mixing, and in the vicinity of avoided band crossings with topologically non-trivial order. Our results indicate that oxide 2DEGs are strong candidates for spin-based information readout in novel memory and transistor designs. In parallel, they confirm the promise of topology as a new ingredient to expand the scope of complex oxides for spintronics.