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Nat Commun. 2013;4:2372. doi: 10.1038/ncomms3372.

Gate control of the electron spin-diffusion length in semiconductor quantum wells.

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  • 1Beijing National Laboratory for Condensed Matter Physics, Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 603, Beijing 100190, China.


The spin diffusion length is a key parameter to describe the transport properties of spin polarized electrons in solids. Electrical spin injection in semiconductor structures, a major issue in spintronics, critically depends on this spin diffusion length. Gate control of the spin diffusion length could be of great importance for the operation of devices based on the electric field manipulation and transport of electron spin. Here we demonstrate that the spin diffusion length in a GaAs quantum well can be electrically controlled. Through the measurement of the spin diffusion coefficient by spin grating spectroscopy and of the spin relaxation time by time-resolved optical orientation experiments, we show that the diffusion length can be increased by more than 200% with an applied gate voltage of 5 V. These experiments allow at the same time the direct simultaneous measurements of both the Rashba and Dresselhaus spin-orbit splittings.

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