Multichannel effects in Rashba quantum wires

Gelabert, M.M.; Serra, Ll.; Sanchez, D.; Lopez, R.
Physical Review B 81, 165317 (1-8) (2010)

We investigate intersubband mixing effects in multichannel quantum wires in the presence of Rashba spin-orbit coupling and attached to two terminals. When the contacts are ferromagnetic and their magnetization direction is perpendicular to the Rashba field, the spin-transistor current is expected to depend in an oscillatory way on the Rashba coupling strength due to spin coherent oscillations of the traveling electrons. Nevertheless, we find that the presence of many propagating modes strongly influences the spin precession effect, leading to (i) a quenching of the oscillations and (ii) strongly irregular curves for high values of the Rashba coupling. We also observe that in the case of leads’ magnetization parallel to the Rashba field, the conductance departs from a uniform value as the Rashba strength increases. We also discuss the Rashba interaction-induced current-polarization effects when the contacts are not magnetic and investigate how this mechanism is affected by the presence of several propagating channels.

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