DS0708 -

Topological insulator and Rashba surface states for spin electronics – TOP-RISE

Submission summary

Most spintronics devices are today based on the manipulation of spin currents that do not carry electrical charges but can be described as equal flows of electrons with opposite spins in opposite directions. The main operations in spintronics are the creation of spin currents from charge currents (electrical currents) and the detection of spin currents by transforming them into charge currents, in other words, conversions between charge and spin currents. Classical spintronics generally uses magnetic materials for these conversions, but it now appears that they can also be obtained by harnessing the spin-orbit coupling (SOC), the relativistic correction to the equation of quantum physics that can be significantly strong in materials containing heavy atoms. A new road for spintronics is now to explore how the spin-orbit interaction can be used as a tool to generate and detect spin currents. We recently demonstrated, using spin pumping and inverse spin Hall effect (Edelstein effect) experiments, a large efficiency of spin to charge current conversion (SCCC) in bi-dimensional systems. One is the Fe/Ge111 interface, involving Rashba and exchange splitting and the second one is the Alpha-Sn surface grown on InSb as a topological insulator surface.
The mains objective of this proposal will be focused on:
1) The growth and control of these two dimensional surface states and their integration into spintronic devices.
2) The interfacial electronic states characterization and their spin properties from both experimental and theoretical aspects.
3) The final goal is to control the magnetization of a nanomagnet using 2D surface spin current and the resulting spin torque. More generally this relatively non explored spin momentum locked material can bring new tools for spintronics which aims to use the spin as a vector of information and communication.

This project, should fill the gap between photoemission investigations and practical spintronic devices based on spin-orbit coupling. As a long-term vision for new technologies, the challenging goal of the project is to make one step forward in that field by demonstrating experimentally the writing of a nanomagnet by the absorption of pure spin currents generated and manipulated electrically in 2D materials. A switchable nanomagnet on spin helicity textured surfaces represents the first building block of magnetic data storage media, reprogrammable spin logics or even Spin Orbit Torque Oscillators. It is anticipated to work with low current and will contribute to low consumption devices. Moreover this experimental demonstration will be supported by theoretical works in order to give fundamental insight into the mechanisms of spin generation at surfaces and interfaces in both Rashba and topological insulator surface. It then addresses new paradigms based on quantum properties for spintronic component.

Project coordination

Jean-Marie George (Unité Mixte de Physique CNRS Thales)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


UMPhi Unité Mixte de Physique CNRS Thales
INAC/SPINTEC Institut des Nanosciences et Cryogénie
LPN Laboratoire de Photonique et de nanostructures
LPN (CNRS DR IDF SUD) Laboratoire de Photonique et Nanostructures

Help of the ANR 572,470 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: September 2016 - 48 Months

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