Chiral Tunneling of Topological States: Towards the Efficient Generation of Spin Current Using Spin-Momentum Locking

Our research on topological insulator pn junction is published in Physical Review Letters. Given below is abstract. Full article can be found here.


We show that the interplay between chiral tunneling and spin-momentum locking of helical surface states leads to spin amplification and filtering in a 3D topological insulator (TI). Our calculations show that the chiral tunneling across a TI pn junction allows normally incident electrons to transmit, while the rest are reflected with their spins flipped due to spin-momentum locking. The net result is that the spin current is enhanced while the dissipative charge current is simultaneously suppressed, leading to an extremely large, gate-tunable spin-to-charge current ratio (∼20) at the reflected end. At the transmitted end, the ratio stays close to 1 and the electrons are completely spin polarized.