Spin-lasers: spintronics beyond magnetoresistance

Žutić, I. and Xu, G. and Lindemann, M. and Faria Junior, P.E. and Lee, J. and Labinac, V. and Stojšić, K. and Sipahi, G.M. and Hofmann, M.R. and Gerhardt, N.C.

Volume: 316-317 Pages:
DOI: 10.1016/j.ssc.2020.113949
Published: 2020

Introducing spin-polarized carriers in semiconductor lasers reveals an alternative path to realize room-temperature spintronic applications, beyond the usual magnetoresistive effects. Through carrier recombination, the angular momentum of the spin-polarized carriers is transferred to photons, thus leading to the circularly polarized emitted light. The intuition for the operation of such spin-lasers can be obtained from simple bucket and harmonic oscillator models, elucidating their steady-state and dynamic response, respectively. These lasers extend the functionalities of spintronic devices and exceed the performance of conventional (spin-unpolarized) lasers, including an order of magnitude faster modulation frequency. Surprisingly, this ultrafast operation relies on a short carrier spin relaxation time and a large anisotropy of the refractive index, both viewed as detrimental in spintronics and conventional lasers. Spin-lasers provide a platform to test novel concepts in spin devices and offer progress connected to the advances in more traditional areas of spintronics. © 2020

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