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Coherent spin valve phenomena and electrical spin injection in ferromagnetic/semiconductor/ferromagnetic junctions

  • Mireles, F.
  • Kirczenow, G.
Publication Date
Oct 17, 2002
Submission Date
Oct 17, 2002
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.66.214415
arXiv ID: cond-mat/0210391
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Coherent quantum transport in ferromagnetic/ semiconductor/ ferromagnetic junctions is studied theoretically within the Landauer framework of ballistic transport. We show that quantum coherence can have unexpected implications for spin injection and that some intuitive spintronic concepts which are founded in semi-classical physics no longer apply: A quantum spin-valve (QSV) effect occurs even in the absence of a net spin polarized current flowing through the device, unlike in the classical regime. The converse effect also arises, i.e. a zero spin-valve signal for a non-vanishing spin-current. We introduce new criteria useful for analyzing quantum and classical spin transport phenomena and the relationships between them. The effects on QSV behavior of spin-dependent electron transmission at the interfaces, interface Schottky barriers, Rashba spin-orbit coupling and temperature, are systematically investigated. While the signature of the QSV is found to be sensitive to temperature, interestingly, that of its converse is not. We argue that the QSV phenomenon can have important implications for the interpretation of spin-injection in quantum spintronic experiments with spin-valve geometries.


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