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Optical Manipulation of Rashba Spin-Orbit Coupling at SrTiO3-Based Oxide Interfaces
Nano Lett. 17(11):6534-6539 Nov 2017

Cheng, Long; Wei, Laiming; Liang, Haixing; Yan, Yuedong; Cheng, Guanghui; Lv, Meng; Lin, Tie; Kang, Tingting; Yu, Guolin; Chu, Junhao; Zhang, Zhenyu; Zeng, Changgan

Spin–orbit coupling (SOC) plays a crucial role for spintronics applications. Here we present the first demonstration that the Rashba SOC at the SrTiO3-based interfaces is highly tunable by photoinduced charge doping, that is, optical gating. Such optical manipulation is nonvolatile after the removal of the illumination in contrast to conventional electrostatic gating and also erasable via a warming–cooling cycle. Moreover, the SOC evolutions tuned by illuminations with different wavelengths at various gate voltages coincide with each other in different doping regions and collectively form an upward-downward trend curve: In response to the increase of conductivity, the SOC strength first increases and then decreases, which can be attributed to the orbital hybridization of Ti 3d subbands. More strikingly, the optical manipulation is effective enough to tune the interferences of Bloch wave functions from constructive to destructive and therefore to realize a transition from weak localization to weak antilocalization. The present findings pave a way toward the exploration of photoinduced nontrivial quantum states and the design of optically controlled spintronic devices.

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