## Nonequilibrium green function approach to elastic and inelastic spin-charge transport in topological insulator-based heterostructures and magnetic tunnel junctions

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2014

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University of Delaware

##### Abstract

Current and future technological needs increasingly motivate the intensive scientific research of the properties of materials at the nano-scale. One of the most important domains in this respect at present concerns nano-electronics and its diverse applications. The great interest in this domain arises from the potential reduction of the size of the circuit components, maintaining their quality and functionality, and aiming at greater efficiency, economy, and storage characteristics for the corresponding physical devices. The aim of this thesis is to present a contribution to the analysis of the electronic charge and spin transport phenomena that occur at the quantum level in nano-structures. This thesis spans the areas of quantum transport theory through time-dependent systems, electron-boson interacting systems and systems of interest to spintronics. A common thread in the thesis is to develop the theoretical foundations and computational algorithms to numerically simulate such systems. In order to optimize the numerical calculations I resort to different techniques (such as graph theory in finding inverse of a sparse matrix, adaptive grids for integrations and programming languages ({\it e.g.,} MATLAB and C++) and distributed computing tools (MPI, CUDA). Outline of the Thesis: After giving an introduction to the topics covered in this thesis in Chapter 1, I present the theoretical foundations to the field of non-equilibrium quantum statistics in Chapter 2. The applications of this formalism and the results are covered in the subsequent chapters as follows: Spin and charge quantum pumping in time-dependent systems: Covered in Chapters 3, 4 and 5, this topics was initially motivated by experiments on measuring voltage signal from a magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) exposed to a microwave radiation in ferromagnetic resonance (FMR) condition. In Chapter 3 we found a possible explanation for the finite voltage signal measured from a tunnel junction consisting of only a single ferromagnet (FM). I show that this could be due to the existence of Rashba spin-orbit coupling (SOC) at the interface of the FM and insulator. Assuming that the measured signals are quantum mechanical effect where a solution to the time dependent Schrodinger equation is required, I use Keldysh Green function formalism to introduce a "multi-photon" approach which takes into account the effects of time-dependent term exactly up to scatterings from a finite number of photons. We then proceed to find the corresponding Green function numerically using a recursive method which allows us to increase the size of the system significantly. We also implement other approximations such as adiabatic and rotating frame approaches and compared them with our approach. In Chapter 4, I investigate the spin and charge pumping from a precessing magnetization attached to the edge of a 2-dimensional topological insulator (2DTI). We show that, in this system a huge spin current (or voltage signal if the FM covers only one edge) can be pumped for very small cone angles of the precessing FM (proportional to the intensity of the applied microwave). In Chapter 5 I present the third project in this field of research, where, I investigated the pumping from FM attached to a 3-dimensional TI. Spin-transfer torque: Presented in Chapter 6, in this work I investigate the torque induced by a flow of spin-polarized current into a FM and check the condition in which it can cause the magnetization to flip. Motivated by recent experimental developments in the field, here I consider systems with strong SOC such as TIs within a magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) heterostructure. In the theoretical part I show the correct way (as opposed to the conventional approach used in some theoretical works which suffers from violation of the gauge invariance) to calculate linear-response torque to the external applied voltage and for the numerical calculation I adopted a parallelized adaptive integration algorithm in order to take care of very sharp changes that appear in momentum and energy dependence of the spin-transfer torques. Transport through many-body interacting system: As demonstrated in Chapter 7, in this research I use Keldysh Green function formalism resummation of the corresponding Feynman diagrams, including the self-consistent second Born approximation with and without bubble diagrams ( GW-like), to find the effect of coupling on I-V characteristics and STT in MTJs. Particularly, I investigated if the electron-magnon coupling can explain the zero-bias anomaly observed experimentally in MTJs which is considered to be a signature of inelastic tunneling spectrum.