Maxwell equation for coupled spin-charge wave propagation

B. Andrei Bernevig, Xiaowei Yu, Shou Cheng Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


We show that the dissipationless spin current in the ground state of the Rashba model gives rise to a reactive coupling between the spin and charge propagation, which is formally identical to the coupling between the electric and the magnetic fields in the (2+1)-dimensional Maxwell equation. This analogy leads to a remarkable effect of fractionalization of spin packets (FSP) where a density packet can spontaneously split into two counterpropagation packets, each carrying the opposite spin. In a certain parameter regime, the coupled spin and charge wave propagates like a transverse "photon." We propose both optical and purely electronic experiments to detect the FSP effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number076602
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 12 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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