The Rashba effect, also called Bychkov-Rashba effect, is a momentum-dependent splitting of spin bands in bulk crystals and low-dimensional condensed matter systems ( such as heterostructures and surface states) similar to the splitting of particles and anti-particles in the Dirac Hamilttonian.
The splitting is a combined effect of spin-orbit interaction and asummetry of the crystal potential, in particular in the direction perpendicular to the two-dimensional plane ( as applied to surfaces and heterostructures).
This effects is named in honour of Emmanuel Rashba, who discovered it with Valentin I. Sheka in 1959, for three-dimensional systems and afterward with Yurii A. Bychkov in 1984 for two-dimensional systems. Both the Rashba and Dresselhaus effects are concepts of the PhySH Physics Subject Headlines scheme.
Remarkably, this effect can drive a wide variety of novel physical phenomena, especially operating electron spins by electric fields, even when it is a small correction to band structure of the two dimensional metallic state. An example of physical phenomenon that can be explained by Rashba model is the anisotropic magnetoresistance ( AMR ).
Additionally, superconductors with large Rashba splitting are suggested as possible relizations of the elusive Flude-Ferrell-Larkin-Ovchinnikov (FFLO) state, Majorana fermions and topological p-wave superconductors.
Lately, a momentum dependent pseudospin-orbit coupling has been relizad in cold atom systems.