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Title: Insulator-to-conductor transition driven by the Rashba–Zeeman effect

The Rashba effect has recently attracted great attention owing to emerging physical properties associated with it. The interplay between the Rashba effect and the Zeeman effect, being produced by the exchange field, is expected to broaden the range of these properties and even result in novel phenomena. Here we predict an insulator-to-conductor transition driven by the Rashba–Zeeman effect. We first illustrate this effect using a general Hamiltonian model and show that the insulator-to-conductor transition can be triggered under certain Rashba and exchange-field strengths. Then, we exemplify this phenomenon by considering an Ag2Te/Cr2O3heterostructure, where the electronic structure of the Ag2Te monolayer is affected across the interface by the proximity effect of the Cr2O3antiferromagnetic layer with well-defined surface magnetization. Based on first-principles calculations, we predict that such a system can be driven into either insulating or conducting phase, depending on the surface magnetization orientation of the Cr2O3layer. Our results enrich the Rashba–Zeeman physics and provide useful guidelines for the realization of the insulator-to-conductor transition, which may be interesting for experimental verification.

Publication Date:
Journal Name:
npj Computational Materials
Nature Publishing Group
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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