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      New Perspectives for Rashba Spin-Orbit Coupling

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          Abstract

          In 1984, Bychkov and Rashba introduced a simple form of spin-orbit coupling to explain certain peculiarities in the electron spin resonance of two-dimensional semiconductors. Over the past thirty years, similar ideas have been leading to a vast number of predictions, discoveries, and innovative concepts far beyond semiconductors. The past decade has been particularly creative with the realizations of means to manipulate spin orientation by moving electrons in space, controlling electron trajectories using spin as a steering wheel, and with the discovery of new topological classes of materials. These developments reinvigorated the interest of physicists and materials scientists in the development of inversion asymmetric structures ranging from layered graphene-like materials to cold atoms. This review presents the most remarkable recent and ongoing realizations of Rashba physics in condensed matter and beyond.

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          Quantum phase transition from a superfluid to a Mott insulator in a gas of ultracold atoms.

          For a system at a temperature of absolute zero, all thermal fluctuations are frozen out, while quantum fluctuations prevail. These microscopic quantum fluctuations can induce a macroscopic phase transition in the ground state of a many-body system when the relative strength of two competing energy terms is varied across a critical value. Here we observe such a quantum phase transition in a Bose-Einstein condensate with repulsive interactions, held in a three-dimensional optical lattice potential. As the potential depth of the lattice is increased, a transition is observed from a superfluid to a Mott insulator phase. In the superfluid phase, each atom is spread out over the entire lattice, with long-range phase coherence. But in the insulating phase, exact numbers of atoms are localized at individual lattice sites, with no phase coherence across the lattice; this phase is characterized by a gap in the excitation spectrum. We can induce reversible changes between the two ground states of the system.
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            Experimental Observation of Quantum Hall Effect and Berry's Phase in Graphene

            When electrons are confined in two-dimensional (2D) materials, quantum mechanically enhanced transport phenomena, as exemplified by the quantum Hall effects (QHE), can be observed. Graphene, an isolated single atomic layer of graphite, is an ideal realization of such a 2D system. Here, we report an experimental investigation of magneto transport in a high mobility single layer of graphene. Adjusting the chemical potential using the electric field effect, we observe an unusual half integer QHE for both electron and hole carriers in graphene. Vanishing effective carrier masses is observed at Dirac point in the temperature dependent Shubnikov de Haas oscillations, which probe the 'relativistic' Dirac particle-like dispersion. The relevance of Berry's phase to these experiments is confirmed by the phase shift of magneto-oscillations, related to the exceptional topology of the graphene band structure.
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              Topological insulators in Bi2Se3, Bi2Te3 and Sb2Te3 with a single Dirac cone on the surface

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                2015-07-09
                2015-07-12
                Article
                10.1038/nmat4360
                26288976
                1507.02408

                http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

                Custom metadata
                56 pages, 7 figures, 3 boxes; Accepted for publication in Nature Materials. The present version is the original one, before passing by the referees
                cond-mat.mes-hall

                Nanophysics

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