In a strong spin-orbit interaction system, the existence of three resistance states were observed when two ferromagnetic (FM) contacts were used as current terminals while a separate normal metal contact pair was used as voltage terminals. This result is strikingly different from ordinary spin valve or magnetic tunnel junction devices, which have only two resistance states corresponding to parallel (R P ) and antiparallel (R AP ) alignments of the FM contacts. Our experimental results on a quantum well layer with a strong Rashba effect clearly exhibit unequal antiparallel states, i.e., R AP(1) > R P > R AP(2) , up to room temperature. The three-states are observed without any degradation when the distance between the non-magnetic voltage probe and the ferromagnetic current probe was increased up to 1.6 mm.
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