Spin Hall effect by surface roughness

Lingjun Zhou, Vahram L. Grigoryan, Sadamichi Maekawa, Xuhui Wang, Jiang Xiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

The spin Hall and its inverse effects, driven by the spin orbit interaction, provide an interconversion mechanism between spin and charge currents. Since the spin Hall effect generates and manipulates spin current electrically, to achieve a large effect is becoming an important topic in both academia and industries. So far, materials with heavy elements carrying a strong spin orbit interaction, provide the only option. We propose here a new mechanism, using the surface roughness in ultrathin films, to enhance the spin Hall effect without heavy elements. Our analysis based on Cu and Al thin films suggests that surface roughness is capable of driving a spin Hall angle that is comparable to that in bulk Au. We also demonstrate that the spin Hall effect induced by surface roughness subscribes only to the side-jump contribution but not the skew scattering. The paradigm proposed in this paper provides the second, not if only, alternative to generate a sizable spin Hall effect.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review B
Volume91
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 8 2015

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