Spin accumulation in metallic thin films induced by electronic impurity scattering

Ming-Hung Wu*, Alexander Fabian, Martin Gradhand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In order to explore the spin accumulation, evaluating the spin galvanic and spin Hall effect, we utilize the semi-classical Boltzmann equation based on input from the relativistic Korringa-Kohn-Rostoker Green's function method, within the density functional theory. We calculate the spin accumulation including multiple contributions, especially skew-scattering (scattering-in term) and compare this to three different approximations, which include the isotropic and anisotropic relaxation time approximation. For heavy metals, with strong intrinsic spin-orbit coupling, we find that almost all the effects are captured within the anisotropic relaxation time approximation. On the other hand, in light metals the contributions from the vertex corrections (scattering-in term) are comparable to the induced effect in anisotropic relaxation time approximation. We put a particular focus on the influence of the atomic character of the substitutional impurities on the spin accumulation as well as the dependence on the impurity position. As impurities will break space inversion symmetry of the thin film, this will give rise to both symmetric and antisymmetric contributions to the spin accumulation. In general, we find the impurities at the surface generate the largest efficiency of charge-to-spin conversion in case of the spin accumulation. Comparing our results to existing experimental findings for Pt we find a good agreement.
Original languageEnglish
Article number184421
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Review B
Volume104
Issue number18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was sponsored by EPSRC international studentship EP/N509619/1. The authors are grateful to Michael Czerner and Christian Heiliger of the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the Justus Liebig University Giessen for technical support. M.G. gratefully acknowledges the visiting professorship program of the Centre for Dynamics and Topology at Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Physical Society.

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