Electric field controlled spin interference in a system with Rashba spin-orbit coupling

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There have been intense research efforts over the last years focused on understanding the Rashba spin-orbit coupling effect from the perspective of possible spintronics applications. An important component of this line of research is aimed at control and manipulation of electron's spin degrees of freedom in semiconductor quantum dot devices. A promising way to achieve this goal is to make use of the tunable Rashba effect that relies on the spin-orbit interaction in a two-dimensional electron system embedded in a host semiconducting material that lacks inversion-symmetry. This way, the Rashba spin-orbit coupling effect may potentially lead to fabrication of a new generation of spintronic devices where control of spin, thus magnetic properties, is achieved via an electric field and not a magnetic field. In this work we investigate theoretically the electron's spin interference and accumulation process in a Rashba spin-orbit coupled system consisting of a pair of two-dimensional semiconductor quantum dots connected to each other via two conducting semi-circular channels. The strength of the confinement energy on the quantum dots is tuned by gate potentials that allow "leakage" of electrons from one dot to another. While going through the conducting channels, the electrons are spin-orbit coupled to a microscopically generated electric field applied perpendicular to the two-dimensional system. We show that interference of spin wave functions of electrons travelling through the two channels gives rise to interference/conductance patterns that lead to the observation of the geometric Berry's phase. Achieving a predictable and measurable observation of Berry's phase allows one to control the spin dynamics of the electrons. It is demonstrated that this system allows use of a microscopically generated electric field to control Berry's phase, thus, enables one to tune the spin-dependent interference pattern and spintronic properties with no need for injection of spin-polarized electrons.

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