Researchers from the RIKEN Institute in Japan have shown that the semiconducting material BiTeI could be useful to overcome the weak coupling of electron spin to electrical currents in Spintronics devices.

In spintronic devices, it is difficult to control the up and down spins independently because of the electron energy degeneracy. One way to split the energy of the two spin states is to destroy the symmetry of the atomic lattice at a surface or at the interface between two materials. This is known as the Rashba effect. The new research have experimentally shown a Rashba-type effect in 3D (or bulk) BiTeI.