Nonlinear spin-thermoelectric transport in two-dimensional topological insulators

Hwang, S.-Y.; López, R.; Lee, M.; Sánchez, D.
Physical Review B 90, 115301 (1-9) (2014)

We consider spin-polarized transport in a quantum spin Hall antidot system coupled to normal leads. Due to the helical nature of the conducting edge states, the screening potential at the dot region becomes spin dependent without external magnetic fields nor ferromagnetic contacts. Therefore, the electric current due to voltage or temperature differences becomes spin polarized, its degree of polarization being tuned with the dot level position or the base temperature. This spin-filter effect arises in the nonlinear transport regime only and has a purely interaction origin. Likewise, we find a spin polarization of the heat current, which is asymmetric with respect to the bias direction. Interestingly, our results show that a pure spin current can be generated by thermoelectric means: when a temperature gradient is applied, the created thermovoltage (Seebeck effect) induces a spin-polarized current for vanishingly small charge current. An analogous effect can be observed for the heat transport: a pure spin heat flows in response to a voltage shift even if the thermal current is zero.

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