It will take place on Tuesday, December 15, 2020, 3 pm (CET), on Zoom:
Spin-orbit coupling: a small interaction leading to rich physics
During the last decade, the spin-orbit interaction has played an increasingly crucial role in condensed matter physics, thanks to its relevance as a rich microscopic mechanism from the fundamental point of view and as a driving force for innovative spintronic applications on the technological side. After a general overview on spin-orbit coupling (SOC), I will discuss two non-trivial aspects where this relativistic interaction gives rise to novel and exotic phenomena. First, I will focus on the modelling of (non-magnetic) ferroelectric semiconductors, where SOC leads to a tight link between Rashba spin-splitting, spin-texture and electric polarization, with the appealing perspective of electric-field control of spin-degrees of freedom and long-sought integration of spintronics with ferroelectricity. Second, I will discuss first-principles results for the monolayer of semiconducting NiI2, where a spontaneous antiskyrmion lattice with unique topology and chirality of the spin structure is driven by SOC-induced anisotropic exchange coupling. The latter is therefore put forward as a novel, alternative and robust mechanism that can give rise to topologically non-trivial spin configurations even in centrosymmetric systems.
About the speaker
Silvia Picozzi received her BSc in Physics at Univ. L’Aquila, Italy (1994) and her PhD in Materials Science from Univ. Camerino, Italy (1998). She is currently Director of Research at Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR, public research institution) at the Institute for Superconducting and Innovative materials and Devices (SPIN) in Chieti (Italy). Since 2008, she is the coordinator of a small scientific group. Her activity is related to materials modeling (mostly simulations based on density functional theory, but also symmetry analysis and model Hamiltonian) in the field of functional materials (such as ferroelectrics, (anti)-ferromagnets), multiferroics) and materials with strong spin-orbit interaction (i.e. Rashba-Dresselhaus effects, topological matter).
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