Berry curvature-induced local spin polarisation in gated graphene/WTe2 heterostructures

Lukas Powalla, Jonas Kiemle, Elio J. König, Andreas P. Schnyder, Johannes Knolle, Klaus Kern, Alexander Holleitner, Christoph Kastl, Marko Burghard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Experimental control of local spin-charge interconversion is of primary interest for spintronics. Van der Waals (vdW) heterostructures combining graphene with a strongly spin-orbit coupled two-dimensional (2D) material enable such functionality by design. Electric spin valve experiments have thus far provided global information on such devices, while leaving the local interplay between symmetry breaking, charge flow across the heterointerface and aspects of topology unexplored. Here, we probe the gate-tunable local spin polarisation in current-driven graphene/WTe2 heterostructures through magneto-optical Kerr microscopy. Even for a nominal in-plane transport, substantial out-of-plane spin accumulation is induced by a corresponding out-of-plane current flow. We present a theoretical model which fully explains the gate- and bias-dependent onset and spatial distribution of the intense Kerr signal as a result of a non-linear anomalous Hall effect in the heterostructure, which is enabled by its reduced point group symmetry. Our findings unravel the potential of 2D heterostructure engineering for harnessing topological phenomena for spintronics, and constitute an important step toward nanoscale, electrical spin control.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3152
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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