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Anisotropic Picosecond Spin-Photocurrent from Weyl Semimetal WTe2

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journal contribution
posted on 14.03.2020, 15:29 authored by Mengji Chen, Kyusup Lee, Jie Li, Liang Cheng, Qisheng Wang, Kaiming Cai, Elbert E. M. Chia, Haixin Chang, Hyunsoo Yang
The generation and detection of ultrafast spin current, preferably reaching a frequency up to terahertz, is the core of spintronics. Studies have shown that the Weyl semimetal WTe2 is of great potential in generating spin currents. However, the prior studies have been limited to the static measurements with the in-plane spin orientation. In this work, we demonstrate a picosecond spin-photocurrent in a Td-WTe2 thin film via a terahertz time domain spectroscopy with a circularly polarized laser excitation. The anisotropic dependence of the circular photogalvanic effect (CPGE) in the terahertz emission reveals that the picosecond spin-photocurrent is generated along the rotational asymmetry a-axis. Notably, the generated spins are aligned along the out-of-plane direction under the light normally incident to the film surface, which provides an efficient means to manipulate magnetic devices with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy. A spin-splitting band induced by intrinsic inversion symmetry breaking enables the manipulation of a spin current by modulating the helicity of the laser excitation. Moreover, CPGE nearly vanishes at a transition temperature of ∼175 K due to the carrier compensation. Our work provides an insight into the dynamic behavior of the anisotropic spin-photocurrent of Td-WTe2 in terahertz frequencies and shows a great potential for the future development of terahertz-spintronic devices with Weyl semimetals.