Hidden spin-orbital texture at the Γ ¯ -located valence band maximum of a transition metal dichalcogenide semiconductor

Oliver J. Clark, Oliver Dowinton, Mohammad Saeed Bahramy, Jaime Sánchez-Barriga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Finding stimuli capable of driving an imbalance of spin-polarised electrons within a solid is the central challenge in the development of spintronic devices. However, without the aid of magnetism, routes towards this goal are highly constrained with only a few suitable pairings of compounds and driving mechanisms found to date. Here, through spin- and angle-resolved photoemission along with density functional theory, we establish how the p-derived bulk valence bands of semiconducting 1T-HfSe 2 possess a local, ground-state spin texture spatially confined within each Se-sublayer due to strong sublayer-localised electric dipoles orientated along the c-axis. This hidden spin-polarisation manifests in a ‘coupled spin-orbital texture’ with in-equivalent contributions from the constituent p-orbitals. While the overall spin-orbital texture for each Se sublayer is in strict adherence to time-reversal symmetry (TRS), spin-orbital mixing terms with net polarisations at time-reversal invariant momenta are locally maintained. These apparent TRS-breaking contributions dominate, and can be selectively tuned between with a choice of linear light polarisation, facilitating the observation of pronounced spin-polarisations at the Brillouin zone centre for all k z. We discuss the implications for the generation of spin-polarised populations from 1T-structured transition metal dichalcogenides using a fixed energy, linearly polarised light source.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4147
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2022


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