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Effect of the inversion symmetry breaking on the orbital Hall effect: A model study
© 2021 American Physical Society. The orbital Hall effect (OHE) is the transverse flow of orbital moment in a solid in response to an applied electric field, analogous to the flow of spin moment in the spin Hall effect (SHE). Although the effect has not been directly observed, there is ample indirect evidence for its existence in a number of experiments. Here, we show that the OHE is enhanced in solids with broken inversion symmetry, which may be more suitable to observe the effect. The mechanism of the OHE is fundamentally different in solids with inversion symmetry, where the orbital moment is quenched in the Brillouin zone (BZ), from that in a solid with broken inversion symmetry, where an intrinsic orbital moment is already present, the motion of which under the applied electric field could lead to a robust OHE. Using a tight-binding model Hamiltonian of a simple cubic lattice with two atoms in the unit cell, we study the effect of the inversion symmetry breaking on the OHE. We show that with the increase in the strength of the broken symmetry, the magnitude of the intrinsic orbital moment in the Brillouin zone increases. This, in turn, enhances the orbital Hall conductivity, in particular, the part that is directly proportional to the orbital moment in the BZ, which we call the "noncentrosymmetric contribution."If the spin-orbit coupling is present, which couples the orbital and spin moments, the OHE leads to the SHE, which also becomes enhanced by the broken inversion symmetry. Our work has important implications for experimenters, suggesting that noncentrosymmetric solids may be more suitable for direct observation of the OHE. Show more
Journal / seriesPhysical Review B
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