Ganichev, Sergey and Ivchenko, Eougenious and Danilov, Sergey and Eroms, Jonathan and Wegscheider, Werner and Weiss, Dieter and Prettl, Wilhelm
Conversion of Spin into Directed Electric Current in Quantum Wells.
Physical Review Letters 86 (19), pp. 4358-4361.
A nonequilibrium population of spin-up and spin-down states in quantum well structures has been achieved applying circularly polarized radiation. The spin polarization results in a directed motion of free carriers in the plane of a quantum well perpendicular to the direction of light propagation. Because of the spin selection rules the direction of the current is determined by the helicity of the light and can be reversed by switching the helicity from right to left handed. A microscopic model is presented which describes the origin of the photon helicity driven current. The model suggests that the system behaves as a battery which generates a spin polarized current.