Uncovering and tailoring hidden Rashba spin-orbit splitting in centrosymmetric crystals. Journal Article uri icon



  • Hidden Rashba and Dresselhaus spin splittings in centrosymmetric crystals with subunits/sectors having non-centrosymmetric symmetries (the R-2 and D-2 effects) have been predicted theoretically and then observed experimentally, but the microscopic mechanism remains unclear. Here we demonstrate that the spin splitting in the R-2 effect is enforced by specific symmetries, such as non-symmorphic symmetry in the present example, which ensures that the pertinent spin wavefunctions segregate spatially on just one of the two inversion-partner sectors and thus avoid compensation. We further show that the effective Hamiltonian for the conventional Rashba (R-1) effect is also applicable for the R-2 effect, but applying a symmetry-breaking electric field to a R-2 compound produces a different spin-splitting pattern than applying a field to a trivial, non-R-2, centrosymmetric compound. This finding establishes a common fundamental source for the R-1 effect and the R-2 effect, both originating from local sector symmetries rather than from the global crystal symmetry per se.

publication date

  • February 22, 2019

Full Author List

  • Yuan L; Liu Q; Zhang X; Luo J-W; Li S-S; Zunger A

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