May 10, 2021 UMD Home FabLab AIMLab

Spin-polarized Electron Transport in Semiconductors

Contributor: Ian Appelbaum

(l) Appelbaum's lateral spin transport device & experimental result of spin-valve & spin precession measurement. (r) Fourier-transform analysis of quasistatic measurements of spin precession through Si reveals the empirical spin transit-time distribution.

Semiconductors serve as the conduits for electron transport in nearly all modern logic, sensor, and optoelectronic devices, because these materials enable precise manipulation of internal electric fields that control the electron's fundamental electric charge. Consider the scenario that an additional "spin" degree of freedom (an intrinsic angular momentum coupled to a magnetic moment) is introduced to establish a local spin imbalance. Can we use our understanding of semiconductor crystal symmetry and its impact on the properties of electron states (spin-dependent "bandstructure") to predict potentially advantageous or deleterious phenomena in a given semiconductor material? Going further, can we intelligently select or design new materials for spin-polarized electron transport? Appelbaum's group has continued to develop extensive experimental capabilities to address these fundamental questions since arriving at University of Maryland in 2008.

Research Insights

Discovery of previously unknown mechanisms for spin relaxation, dephasing and interaction with interfaces and impurities in the technologically important semiconductors silicon and germanium. Theoretical analysis of the spin consequences of symmetry on potential applications in 2-D materials such as graphene and phosphorene were also investigated.

Science Impact

A fundamental understanding of localized spin imbalance in semiconductors over different length- or time-scales can potentially impact materials selection and design.


  • Li et al. Field-induced Negative Differential Spin Lifetime in Silicon. Phys. Rev. Lett. (2012) 108, 157201. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.157201.
  • Huang et al. Time-of-flight Spectroscopy via Spin precession: The Larmor Clock and Anomalous Spin Dephasing in Silicon. Phys. Rev. B Rapid Comm. (2010) 82, 241202(R). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.82.241202.
  • Jang et al. Spin-polarized Electron Transport Near the Si/SiO2 Interface. Phys. Rev. Lett. (2009) 103, 117202 (2009). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.103.117202.
  • Lu et al. Spin-polarized Transient Electron Trapping in Phosphorus-doped Silicon. Phys. Rev. Lett. (2011) 106, 217202. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.217202.
  • Jang et al. Non-ohmic Spin Transport in n-type doped Silicon. Phys. Rev. B (2008) 78, 165329. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.78.165329.
  • Li et al. Anisotropy-driven Spin Relaxation in Germanium. Phys. Rev. Lett. (2013) 111, 257204. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.111.257204.
  • Li et al. Electrons and holes in phosphorene. Phys. Rev. B (2014) 90,115439. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.90.115439.

Colleges A. James Clark School of Engineering
The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

Communicate Join Email List
Contact Us
Follow us on TwitterTwitter logo

Links Privacy Policy

Copyright The University of Maryland University of Maryland