Spin accumulation is a crucial but imprecise concept in spintronics. In metal-based spintronics it is characterized in terms of semiclassical distribution functions. In semiconductors with a strong spin-orbit coupling the spin accumulation is interpreted as a superposition of coherent eigenstates. Both views can be reconciled by taking into account the electron-electron interaction: a sufficiently strong self-consistent exchange field reduces a spin accumulation to a chemical potential difference between the two spin bands even in the presence of spin-orbit coupling. We demonstrate the idea on a clean two-dimensional electron gas by showing how the exchange field protects a spin accumulation from dephasing and introduces an easy-plane anisotropy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)