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Phys Rev Lett. 2010 Feb 12;104(6):066802. Epub 2010 Feb 8.

Quantum-well-induced giant spin-orbit splitting.

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Department of Physics and Research Center OPTIMAS, University of Kaiserslautern, 67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany.


We report on the observation of a giant spin-orbit splitting of quantum-well states in the unoccupied electronic structure of a Bi monolayer on Cu(111). Up to now, Rashba-type splittings of this size have been reported exclusively for surface states in a partial band gap. With these quantum-well states we have experimentally identified a second class of states that show a huge spin-orbit splitting. First-principles electronic structure calculations show that the origin of the spin-orbit splitting is due to the perpendicular potential at the surface and interface of the ultrathin Bi film. This finding allows for the direct possibility to tailor spin-orbit splitting by means of thin-film nanofabrication.

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