Modulated Rashba interaction in a quantum wire: Spin and charge dynamics

Malard, Mariana and Japaridze, G.I. and Johannesson, Henrik (2011) Modulated Rashba interaction in a quantum wire: Spin and charge dynamics. Physical Review B, 84 (7). 075466-1.


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It was recently shown that a spatially modulated Rashba spin-orbit coupling in a quantum wire drives a transition from a metallic to an insulating state when the wave number of the modulation becomes commensurate with the Fermi wave length of the electrons in the wire [G. I. Japaridze et al., Phys. Rev. B v.80 041308(R) (2009)]. On basis of experimental data from a gated InAs heterostructure it was suggested that the effect may be put to practical use in a future spin transistor design. In the present article we revisit the problem and present a detailed analysis of the underlying physics. First, we explore how the build-up of charge density wave correlations in the quantum wire due to the periodic gate configuration that produces the Rashba modulation influences the transition to the insulating state. The interplay between the modulations of the charge density and that of the spin-orbit coupling turns out to be quite subtle: Depending on the relative phase between the two modulations, the charge-density wave correlations may either enhance or reduce the Rashba current blockade effect. Secondly, we inquire about the role of the Dresselhaus spin-orbit coupling that is generically present in a quantum wire embedded in semiconductor heterostructure. While the Dresselhaus coupling is found to work against the current blockade of the insulating state, the effect is small in most materials. Using an effective field theory approach, we also carry out an analysis of effects from electron-electron interactions, and show how the single-particle gap in the insulating state can be extracted from the more easily accessible collective charge and spin excitation thresholds. The smallness of the single-particle gap together with the anti-phase relation between the Rashba and chemical potential modulations pose serious difficulties for realizing a Rashba-controlled current switch in an InAs-based device. Some alternative designs are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Faculties/Schools > School of Natural Sciences and Engineering
Depositing User: გიორგი ჯაფარიძე
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2014 11:57
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2015 06:13

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