Subband anticrossing and the spin Hall effect in quantum wires

A. W. Cummings, R. Akis, D. K. Ferry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We report on numerical simulations of the intrinsic spin Hall effect in semiconductor quantum wires as a function of the Rashba spin-orbit coupling strength, the electron density, and the width of the wire. We find that the strength of the spin Hall effect does not depend monotonically on these parameters, but instead exhibits a local maximum. This behavior is explained by considering the dispersion relation of the electrons in the wire, which is characterized by the anticrossing of adjacent subbands. These results lead to a simple estimate of the optimal wire width for spin Hall transport experiments, and simulations indicate that this optimal width is independent of disorder. The anticrossing of adjacent subbands is related to a quantum phase transition in momentum space, and is accompanied by an enhancement of the Berry curvature and subsequently in the magnitude of the spin Hall effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number055502
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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