The so-called spin-orbit proximity effect experimentally realized in graphene (G) on several different heavy metal surfaces opens a new perspective to engineer the spin-orbit coupling for new generation spintronics devices. Here, via large-scale density functional theory calculations performed for two distinct graphene/metal models, G/Pt(111) and G/Au/Ni(111), we show that the spin-orbit splitting of the Dirac cones (DCs) in these structures might be enhanced by either adsorption of adatoms on top of graphene (decoration) or between the graphene and the metal (intercalation). While the decoration by inducing strong graphene-adatom interaction suppresses the linearity of the G's pi bands, the intercalated structures reveal a weaker adatom-mediated graphene/substrate hybridization which preserves well-defined although broadened DCs. Remarkably, the intercalated G/Pt(111) structure exhibits splittings considerably larger than the defect-free case.
- density functional theory (DFT)
- spin-orbit coupling
- spin texture
- metallic surfaces