Enhanced spin Seebeck effect signal due to spin-momentum locked topological surface states

Zilong Jiang, Cui Zu Chang, Massoud Ramezani Masir, Chi Tang, Yadong Xu, Jagadeesh S. Moodera, Allan H. Macdonald, Jing Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Spin-momentum locking in protected surface states enables efficient electrical detection of magnon decay at a magnetic-insulator/topological-insulator heterojunction. Here we demonstrate this property using the spin Seebeck effect (SSE), that is, measuring the transverse thermoelectric response to a temperature gradient across a thin film of yttrium iron garnet, an insulating ferrimagnet, and forming a heterojunction with (Bi x Sb 1â 'x) 2 Te 3, a topological insulator. The non-equilibrium magnon population established at the interface can decay in part by interactions of magnons with electrons near the Fermi energy of the topological insulator. When this decay channel is made active by tuning (Bi x Sb 1â 'x) 2 Te 3 into a bulk insulator, a large electromotive force emerges in the direction perpendicular to the in-plane magnetization of yttrium iron garnet. The enhanced, tunable SSE which occurs when the Fermi level lies in the bulk gap offers unique advantages over the usual SSE in metals and therefore opens up exciting possibilities in spintronics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11458
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - May 4 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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