Direct coupling between charge current and spin polarization by extrinsic mechanisms in graphene

Chunli Huang, Y. D. Chong, Miguel A. Cazalilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Spintronics - the all-electrical control of the electron spin for quantum or classical information storage and processing - is one of the most promising applications of the two-dimensional material graphene. Although pristine graphene has negligible spin-orbit coupling (SOC), both theory and experiment suggest that SOC in graphene can be enhanced by extrinsic means, such as functionalization by adatom impurities. We present a theory of transport in graphene that accounts for the spin-coherent dynamics of the carriers, including hitherto-neglected spin precession processes taking place during resonant scattering in the dilute impurity limit. We uncover an "anisotropic spin precession" (ASP) scattering process in graphene, which contributes a large current-induced spin polarization and modifies the standard spin Hall effect. ASP scattering arises from two dimensionality and extrinsic SOC, and apart from graphene, it can be present in other 2D materials or in the surface states of 3D materials with a fluctuating SOC. Our theory also yields a comprehensive description of the spin relaxation mechanisms present in adatom-decorated graphene, including Elliot-Yafet and D'yakonov-Perel relaxation rates, the latter of which can become an amplification process in a certain parameter regime of the SOC disorder potential. Our work provides theoretical foundations for designing future graphene-based integrated spintronic devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number085414
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 15 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Physical Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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