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Phys Rev Lett. 2004 Oct 8;93(15):156804. Epub 2004 Oct 6.

Spin-Hall insulator.

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Department of Applied Physics, University of Tokyo, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan.


Recent theories predict dissipationless spin current induced by an electric field in doped semiconductors. Nevertheless, the charge current is still dissipative in these systems. In this work, we theoretically predict the dissipationless spin-Hall effect, without any accompanying charge current, in some classes of band insulators, including zero-gap semiconductors such as HgTe and narrow-gap semiconductors such as PbTe. This effect is similar to the quantum-Hall effect in that all the states below the gap contribute and there occurs no dissipation. However, the spin-Hall conductance is not quantized even in two dimensions. This is the first example of a nontrivial topological structure in a band insulator without any magnetic field.

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