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Spin Nomenclature for Semiconductors and Magnetic Metals



B Jonker, A Hanbicki, Daniel T. Pierce, Mark D. Stiles


The different conventions used in the semiconductor and magnetic metals communities can cause confusion in the context of spin polarization and transport in simple heterostructures. In semiconductors, terminology is based on the orientation of the electron spin, while in magnetic metals it is based on the orientation of the moment. In the rapidly expanding field of spintronics, where both semiconductors and magnetic metals are important, some commonly used terms ("spin-up", "majority spin") can have different meanings. Here, we clarify nomenclature relevant to spin transport and optical polarization by relating the common physical observables and "definitions" of spin polarization to the fundamental concept of conservation of angular momentum within a well-defined reference frame.
Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials


angular momentum, ferromagnet, helicity, magnetic movement, polarization, semiconductor, spin


Jonker, B. , Hanbicki, A. , Pierce, D. and Stiles, M. (2004), Spin Nomenclature for Semiconductors and Magnetic Metals, Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, [online], (Accessed May 19, 2024)


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Created May 31, 2004, Updated October 12, 2021