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Effect of Rashba splitting on ultrafast carrier dynamics in BiTeI

AuthorsKetterl, Anna S.; Andres, Beatrice; Polverigiani, Marco; Voroshnin, Vladimir Yu.; Gahl, Cornelius; Kokh, Konstantin A.; Tereshchenko, Oleg E.; Chulkov, Eugene V. CSIC ORCID; Shikin, Alexander M.; Weinelt, Martin
Issue Date2021
PublisherAmerican Physical Society
CitationPhysical Review B 103(8): 085406 (2021)
AbstractNarrow-gap semiconductors with strong spin-orbit coupling such as bismuth tellurohalides have become popular candidates for spintronic applications. But driving spin-polarized photocurrents in these materials with circularly polarized light requires picosecond lifetimes of the photoexcited carriers and low spin-flip scattering rates. In search of these essential ingredients, we conducted an extensive study of the carrier dynamics on the Te-terminated surface of BiTeI, which exhibits a giant Rashba splitting of both surface and bulk states. We observe a complex interplay of surface and bulk dynamics after photoexcitation. Carriers are rapidly rearranged in momentum space by quasielastic phonon and defect scattering, while a phonon bottleneck leads to a slow equilibration between bulk electrons and lattice. The particular band dispersion opens an inelastic decay channel for hot carriers in the form of plasmon excitations, which are immanent to Rashba-split systems. These ultrafast scattering processes effectively redistribute excited carriers in momentum and energy space and thereby inhibit spin-polarized photocurrents.
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