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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effect of spin-orbit coupling on conduction electrons in metals Schmor, Paul Wesley


Spin-orbit coupling for conduction electrons in metals is studied by investigating g[sub c], an average of a spin-splitting factor for electronic states on extremal orbits of the Fermi surface. G[sub c] is found from an examination of the harmonic content of the de Haas-van Alphen oscillations in the magnetization, specifically from the dimensionless 2 ratio α = A[sup 2 /sub 2]/ (A₁A₃), where A₁, A₂, and A₃ are the amplitudes of the first three harmonics. The method has been applied to lead, for which spin-orbit coupling effects are particularly important, and a sensitive magnetoresistive-probe technique has been developed to detect the oscillations in disk-shaped samples. Values of g[sub c] have been found for two extremal orbits, and they differ significantly from the value g[sub c] =2 for perfectly free electrons. The pseudopotential interpolation scheme developed by Anderson, O’Sullivan, and Schirber to describe the band structure and Fermi surface of lead has been modified to include the effect of an applied magnetic field, thereby enabling the spin-splitting factors g(k) to be calculated for any point k in the Brillouin zone. The computed values of g(k) are found to depend markedly on the orientation of the field, and are compared with the experimental results.

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