Anisotropy of spin relaxation and transverse transport in metals


Mokrousov Y, Zhang H, Freimuth F, Zimmermann B, Long NH, Weischenberg J, Souza I, Mavropoulos P, Blügel S. Anisotropy of spin relaxation and transverse transport in metals. JOURNAL OF PHYSICS-CONDENSED MATTER. 2013;25:163201.


Using first-principles methods we explore the anisotropy of the spin relaxation and transverse transport properties in bulk metals with respect to the real-space direction of the spin-quantization axis in paramagnets or of the spontaneous magnetization in ferromagnets. Owing to the presence of the spin-orbit coupling the orbital and spin character of the Bloch states depends sensitively on the orientation of the spins relative to the crystal axes. This leads to drastic changes in quantities which rely on interband mixing induced by the spin-orbit interaction. The anisotropy is particularly striking for quantities which exhibit spiky and irregular distributions in the Brillouin zone, such as the spin-mixing parameter or the Berry curvature of the electronic states. We demonstrate this for three cases: (i) the Elliott-Yafet spin-relaxation mechanism in paramagnets with structural inversion symmetry; (ii) the intrinsic anomalous Hall effect in ferromagnets; and (iii) the spin Hall effect in paramagnets. We discuss the consequences of the pronounced anisotropic behavior displayed by these properties for spin-polarized transport applications.