The electrical manipulation of spins in semiconductors, without magnetic fields or auxiliary ferromagnetic materials, represents the holy grail for spintronics. The use of Rashba effect is very attractive because the k-dependent spin-splitting is originated by an electric field. So far only tiny effects in two-dimensional electron gases (2DEG) have been exploited. Recently, GeTe has been predicted to have bulk bands with giant Rashba-like splitting, originated by the inversion symmetry breaking due to ferroelectric polarization. In this work, we show that GeTe (111) surfaces with inwards or outwards ferroelectric polarizations display opposite sense of circulation of spin in bulk Rashba bands, as seen by spin and angular resolved photoemission experiments. Our results represent the first experimental demonstration of ferroelectric control of the spin texture in a semiconductor, a fundamental milestone towards the exploitation of the non-volatile electrically switchable spin texture of GeTe in spintronic devices.
21 Jul 2017
arXiv preprint arXiv:1707.07043