Ultrafast Optical Measurements of Spin Polarization in Semiconductors

By Vanessa Sih

Department of Physics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

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We are interested in understanding mechanisms that generate and manipulate electron spin polarization in non-magnetic materials using applied electric fields. In this talk, I will describe optical techniques that can measure the magnitude and direction of spin-orbit fields and electrically-generated spin polarization in non-magnetic semiconductors [1] and the modification of the electron spin precession frequency in a bulk semiconductor using an applied in-plane electric field [2]. These techniques can sensitively measure and distinguish changes in the electron g-factor from changes in the effective magnetic fields produced by spin-orbit splitting and nuclear spin polarization. I will also discuss our recent development of resonant and time-resolved spin noise spectroscopy, which uses a train of short laser pulses to measure the spin correlation function with a temporal resolution that is limited by the optical pulse duration [3].


Vanessa Sih Professor Sih is investigating electron spins and photons in semiconductor nanostructures for potential applications in spin-based devices that combine logic and storage and for quantum and optical information processing in solid-state systems. Ultrafast, spatially-resolved magneto-optical spectroscopy explores electron spin coherence and electrically generating spin polarization in non-magnetic materials through spin-orbit coupling and the spin hall effect. The study of fabrication and optical characterization of prototype photonic devices, such as waveguides, ring resonators and photonic crystals, focuses on developing novel methods for controlling light.

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  1. B. M. Norman et al., Current-Induced Spin Polarization in Anisotropic Spin-Orbit Fields, Phys. Rev. Lett 112, 056601 (2014)
  2. M. Luengo-Kovac et al., g-factor modification in a bulk InGaAs epilayer by an in-plane electric field, Phys. Rev. B 91, 201110(R) (2015)
  3. B. C. Pursley et al., Resonant and Time-Resolved Spin Noise Spectroscopy, arXiv:1508.07383

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Vanessa Sih (2016), "Ultrafast Optical Measurements of Spin Polarization in Semiconductors," http://nanohub.org/resources/23848.

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