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  Spin-orbit induced equilibrium spin currents in materials

Droghetti, A., Rungger, I., Rubio, A., & Tokatly, I. V. (2022). Spin-orbit induced equilibrium spin currents in materials. Physical Review B, 105(2): 024409. doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.105.024409.

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PhysRevB.105.024409.pdf (Publisher version), 3MB
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2022
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© American Physical Society
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https://arxiv.org/abs/2109.03790 (Preprint)
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https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.105.024409 (Publisher version)
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 Creators:
Droghetti, A.1, Author
Rungger, I.2, Author
Rubio, A.3, 4, 5, 6, 7, Author              
Tokatly, I. V.6, 7, 8, 9, Author
Affiliations:
1School of Physics and CRANN, Trinity College, ou_persistent22              
2National Physical Laboratory, UK, ou_persistent22              
3Theory Group, Theory Department, Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, Max Planck Society, ou_2266715              
4Center for Free-Electron Laser Science, ou_persistent22              
5Center for Computational Quantum Physics, Flatiron Institute, ou_persistent22              
6Nano-Bio Spectroscopy Group and European Theoretical Spectroscopy Facility (ETSF), Departamento de Políımeros y Materiales Avanzados: Física, Química y Tecnología, Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU), ou_persistent22              
7Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC), ou_persistent22              
8IKERBASQUE, Basque Foundation for Science, ou_persistent22              
9ITMO University, Department of Physics and Engineering, ou_persistent22              

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 Abstract: The existence of pure spin currents in absence of any driving external field is commonly considered an exotic phenomenon appearing only in quantum materials, such as topological insulators. We demonstrate instead that equilibrium spin currents are a rather general property of materials with non-negligible spin-orbit coupling (SOC). Equilibrium spin currents can be present at the surfaces of a slab. Yet, we also propose the existence of global equilibrium spin currents, which are net bulk spin currents along specific crystallographic directions of solid-state materials. Equilibrium spin currents are allowed by symmetry in a very broad class of systems having gyrotropic point groups. The physics behind equilibrium spin currents is uncovered by making an analogy between electronic systems with SOC and non-Abelian gauge theories. The electron spin can be seen as analogous to the color degree of freedom in SU(2) gauge theories and equilibrium spin currents can then be identified with diamagnetic color currents appearing as the response to a effective non-Abelian magnetic field generated by the SOC. Equilibrium spin currents are not associated with spin transport and accumulation, but they should nonetheless be carefully taken into account when computing transport spin currents. We provide quantitative estimates of equilibrium spin currents for a number of different systems, specifically the Au(111) and Ag(111) metallic surfaces presenting Rashba-type surface states, nitride semiconducting nanostructures, and bulk materials, such as the prototypical gyrotropic medium tellurium. In doing so, we also point out the limitations of model approaches showing that first-principles calculations are needed to obtain reliable predictions. We therefore use density functional theory computing the so-called bond currents, which represent a powerful tool to deeply understand the relation between equilibrium currents, electronic structure, and crystal point group.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2021-11-082021-09-072021-12-222022-01-102022-01
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: arXiv: 2109.03790
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.105.024409
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Project name : -
Grant ID : 965046
Funding program : Horizon 2020 (H2020)
Funding organization : European Commission (EC)
Project name : A.R. was supported by the European Research Council (Grant No. ERC-2015-AdG694097), the Cluster of Excellence “CUI: Advanced Imaging of Matter” of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)-EXC 2056 (Project ID No. 390715994), SFB925 “Light induced dynam- ics and control of correlated quantum systems” and partially by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research Grant No. RouTe-13N14839.
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Source 1

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Title: Physical Review B
  Abbreviation : Phys. Rev. B
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Woodbury, NY : American Physical Society
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 105 (2) Sequence Number: 024409 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1098-0121
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925225008