Controlled spatial separation of spins and coherent dynamics in spin-orbit-coupled nanostructures.
The spatial separation of electron spins followed by the control of their individual spin dynamics has recently emerged as an essential ingredient in many proposals for spin-based technologies because it would enable both of the two spin species to be simultaneously utilized, distinct from most of the current spintronic studies and technologies wherein only one spin species could be handled at a time. Here we demonstrate that the spatial spin splitting of a coherent beam of electrons can be achieved and controlled using the interplay between an external magnetic field and Rashba spin-orbit interaction in semiconductor nanostructures. The technique of transverse magnetic focusing is used to detect this spin separation. More notably, our ability to engineer the spin-orbit interactions enables us to simultaneously manipulate and probe the coherent spin dynamics of both spin species and hence their correlation, which could open a route towards spintronics and spin-based quantum information processing.