Extrinsic spin-charge coupling in diffusive superconducting systems

Physical Review B 98, 144515 (2018)

Extrinsic spin-charge coupling in diffusive superconducting systems

Chunli Huang, I. V. Tokatly,, F. S. Bergeret

We present a theoretical study of diffusive superconducting systems with extrinsic spin-orbit coupling and arbitrarily strong impurity potential. We derive from a microscopic Hamiltonian a diffusion equation for the quasi-classical Green function, and demonstrate that all mechanisms related to the spin-orbit coupling are expressed in terms of three kinetic coefficients: the spin Hall angle, the spin current swapping coefficient, and the spin relaxation rate due to Elliott-Yafet mechanism. The derived diffusion equation contains a hitherto unknown term describing a spin-orbit torque that appears exclusively in the superconducting state. As an example, we provide a qualitative description of a magnetic vortex in a superconductor with triplet correlations, and show that the novel term describes a spin torque proportional to the vector product between the spectral angular momentum of the condensate and the triplet vector. Our equation opens up the possibility to explore spintronic effects in superconductors with no counterparts in the normal metallic state.

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