Spin polarization via electron tunneling through an indirect-gap semiconductor barrier
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We study the spin dependent tunneling of electrons through a zinc-blende semiconductor with the indirect X (or Δ) minimum serving as the tunneling barrier. The basic difference between tunneling through the Γ vs the X barrier is the linear-k spin-orbit splitting of the two spin bands at the X point, as opposed to the k3 Dresselhaus splitting at the Γ point. The linear coefficient of the spin splitting at the X point is computed for several semiconductors using density-functional theory and the transport characteristics are calculated using the barrier tunneling model. We show that both the transmission coefficient as well as the spin polarization can be large, suggesting the potential application of these materials as spin filters.
Phys. Rev. B 72, 195347 (2005) [5 pages]