Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Abstract-Quantum spin dynamics at terahertz frequencies in 2D hole gases and improper ferroelectrics

J. Lloyd-Hughes


Terahertz time-domain spectroscopy permits the excitations of novel materials to be examined with exquisite precision. Improper ferroelectric materials such as cupric oxide (CuO) exhibit complex magnetic ground states. CuO is antiferromagnetic below 213K, but has an incommensurate cycloidal magnetic phase between 213K and 230K. Remarkably, the cycloidal magnetic phase drives ferroelectricity, where the material becomes polar. Such improper multiferroics are of great contemporary interest, as a better understanding of the science of magnetoelectric materials may lead to their application in actuators, sensors and solid state memories. Improper multiferroics also have novel quasiparticle excitations: electromagnons form when spin-waves become electric-dipole active. By examining the dynamic response of spins as they interact with THz radiation we gain insights into the underlying physics of multi-ferroics. In contrast to improper ferroelectrics, where magnetism drives structural inversion asymmetry (SIA), two-dimensional electronic systems can exhibit non-degenerate spin states as a consequence of SIA created by strain and/or electric fields. We identify and explore the influence of the Rashba spin-orbit interaction upon cyclotron resonance at terahertz frequencies in high-mobility 2D hole gases in germanium quantum wells. An enhanced Rashba spin-orbit interaction can be linked to the strain of the quantum well, while a time-frequency decomposition method permitted the dynamical formation and decay of spin-split cyclotron resonances to be tracked on picosecond timescales. Long spin-decoherence times concurrent with high hole mobilities highlight the potential of Ge quantum wells in spintronics.

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