Experimental observation of the spin-Hall effect in a spin-orbit coupled two-dimensional hole gas

B. Kaestner, J. Wunderlich, T. Jungwirth, J. Sinova, K. Nomura, A. H. MacDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Electrically induced ordering and manipulation of electron spins in semiconductors has a number of practical advantages over the established techniques using circularly polarized light sources, external magnetic fields and spin injection from a ferromagnet. The spin-Hall effect utilizes spin-orbit coupling to induce edge spin accumulation in response to a longitudinal electric field which can be applied locally and lead to low energy consumption devices. We study spin accumulation near the edge of a weakly disordered two-dimensional hole gas (2DHG) in a GaAs/AlGaAs heterostructure where the magnitude of the transverse spin current approaches the intrinsic, disorder independent value, in contrast to the impurity dominated regime observed in 3D electron doped systems. In our experiment, the induced spin polarization is detected by the electroluminescence resulting from two p-n junctions bordering the 2DHG channel. When an electric field is applied across the 2DHG channel, a non-zero out-of-plane component of the spin is optically detected. The sign of the spin depends on the direction of the field and is opposite for the two edges, consistent with theory predictions. We also report and analyze an in-plane spin-polarization effect induced in the device by asymmetric electron-hole recombination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-52
Number of pages6
JournalPhysica E: Low-Dimensional Systems and Nanostructures
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Aug
Externally publishedYes


  • Current induced spin-polarization
  • Lateral pn-junction
  • Spin Hall effect
  • Spin-LED
  • Spin-detection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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