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Oblique Reflection of Electrons from a Potential Barrier in Heterostructures

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Reflection of electrons from a potential barrier in heterostructures is described. An electric field of the barrier causes spin splitting of electron energies via the spin-orbit interaction and its form is calculated in the three-level k·p model for a nontrivial case of unbound electrons. It is shown that if the potential barrier is the only source of the spin-orbit interaction, the spin-flip electron reflections are not possible. However, there appear two unexpected possibilities related to the spin-orbit interaction: (a) non-attenuated electron propagation in the barrier whose height exceeds the energies of incoming electrons, (b) total reflection of electrons whose energies exceed barrier's height. It is indicated that the system can serve as a source of spin-polarized electron beams.
  • Institute of Physics, Polish Academy of Sciences, al. Lotników 32/46, 02-668 Warsaw, Poland
  • Institute of Physics, Polish Academy of Sciences, al. Lotników 32/46, 02-668 Warsaw, Poland
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