Empirical Monod-Beuneu relation of spin relaxation revisited for elemental metals
Monod andBeuneu [P. Monod and F. Beuneu, Phys. Rev. B 19, 911 (1979)] established the validity of the ElliottYafet theory for elemental metals through correlating the experimental electron spin resonance linewidth with the so-called spin-orbit admixture coefficients and the momentum-relaxation theory. The spin-orbit admixture coefficients data were based on atomic spin-orbit splitting. We highlight two shortcomings of the previous description: (i) the momentum-relaxation involves the Debye temperature and the electron-phonon coupling whose variation among the elemental metals was neglected, (ii) the Elliott-Yafet theory involves matrix elements of the spin-orbit coupling (SOC), which are however not identical to the SOC induced energy splitting of the atomic levels, even though the two have similar magnitudes. We obtain the empirical spin-orbit admixture parameters for the alkali metals by considering the proper description of the momentum relaxation theory. In addition we present a model calculation, which highlights the difference between the SOC matrix element and energy splitting.