Contributions to Science, 4-2 : Nanoscience and nanotechnology research in Catalonia : Special Issue / N. Ferrer-Anglada, Guest editor

Spin-orbit coupling and the electronic properties of quantum wires

Llorenç Serra


We review recent work on the effects of the Rashba spin-orbit
interaction on the electronic structure and the conductance of
quantum wires. We first discuss the importance of the intersubband
coupling induced by the Rashba interaction for the
wire subband-energies and spin distributions, especially in the
presence of in-plane magnetic fields. We then consider the calculation
of the evanescent modes, emphasizing the peculiarities
of these states in the presence of spin-orbit coupling. Finally, we
discuss the physical effects of a localized Rashba interaction
in a quantum wire. We predict in this case the occurrence of
Fano resonances in the dependence of the wire conductance
with the incident electron energy. The Fano lineshapes manifest
themselves more clearly in the spin-resolved transmissions. We
obtain exact numerical results within the quantum-transmittingboundary
algorithm and also propose a simplified approach (the
coupled-channel model) that captures the main ingredients of
the effect and allows a more transparent physical interpretation.

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ISSN: 2013-410X (electronic edition); 1575-6343 (print edition)