Spin-orbit-coupling induced lateral spin transport from first principles

Rohit Sasidharan Nair

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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Everything digital is currently stored in data centres on magnetic hard disk drives which are accessed at will using a magnetic read head. The spinning disks and moving read heads in the hard disks imply slow access time and high-power consumption making data centres giant sponges for electricity. At the same time, semiconductor based storage suffers from thermal dissipation with miniaturization on top of data leakage and high cost. The ideal memory for data storage would be cost-effective, non-volatile, fast and consume less power, combining desirable features of both magnetic and semiconductor storage technology. To this end, the field of “spintronics" promises a new direction towards efficient data storage using magnetic memories.

The impetus for the research that has gone into realizing this thesis was fuelled by uncertainties in the reported spin transport parameters and the gap between phenomenological models and experiments in (spin)transport phenomena. The aim of the thesis is to resolve some of the uncertainties by pushing our computational
capabilities in investigating microscopic details of transport. Furthermore, I attempt to improve upon existing models of interpretation or prediction used in experiments and application.

I studied a number of topics in the field of electronic spin transport in transition metals. Because of their partially filled d-bands and complex Fermi surfaces with spin-orbit coupling, transition metals are rich in spin phenomena that have potential for spintronics applications. Using a density functional theory-based scattering approach, I studied the generation and diffusion of spin currents in non-magnetic 5d and ferromagnetic 3d transition metals. By including thermal disorder, I presented realistic calculations for these metals. I next studied lateral transport in finite size geometries that are encountered in spintronics experiments. This form the last three chapters of the thesis. The main focus of the thesis has been on the determination of the two most important spin-orbit coupling related spin transport properties, the spin flip diffusion length and the spin Hall angle.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Kelly, P.J. , Supervisor
Award date27 Aug 2021
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-5211-0
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2021


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