Perovskite Quantum-Dot Photovoltaic Materials beyond the Reach of Thin Films: Full Range Tuning of A-site Cation Composition

ACS Nano American Chemical Society (2018)

A Hazarika, Q Zhao, A Gaulding, JA Christians, B Dou, AR MARSHALL, T Moot, JJ Berry, JC Johnson, JM Luther

How Lattice Dynamics Moderate the Electronic Properties of Metal-Halide Perovskites.

The journal of physical chemistry letters 9 (2018) 6853-6863

LM Herz

Metal-halide perovskites have emerged as highly promising semiconductors with excellent optoelectronic properties. This Perspective outlines how the dynamic response of the ionic lattice affects key electronic properties such as exciton binding energies and charge-carrier mobilities in hybrid perovskites. Such links are shown to derive from the frequency-dependence of the dielectric function, which is governed by contributions from electronic interband transitions, polar vibrations of the metal-halide sublattice, organic cation collective reorientations, and ionic movement. The influence of each of these contributions to charge-carrier screening and carrier-lattice interactions is discussed, which allows for general trends with material composition to be revealed. Overall, this Perspective highlights the challenges and questions arising from the peculiar combination of a soft polar metal-halide sublattice interspersed with rotationally mobile dipolar molecules that is encountered in hybrid metal-halide perovskites.

How Contact Layers Control Shunting Losses from Pinholes in Thin-Film Solar Cells

JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY C 122 (2018) 27263-27272

P Kaienburg, P Hartnage, BE Pieters, J Yu, D Grabowski, Z Liu, J Haddad, U Rau, T Kircharte

Bimolecular recombination in methylammonium lead triiodide perovskite is an inverse absorption process.

Nature communications 9 (2018) 293-293

CL Davies, MR Filip, JB Patel, TW Crothers, C Verdi, AD Wright, RL Milot, F Giustino, MB Johnston, LM Herz

Photovoltaic devices based on metal halide perovskites are rapidly improving in efficiency. Once the Shockley-Queisser limit is reached, charge-carrier extraction will be limited only by radiative bimolecular recombination of electrons with holes. Yet, this fundamental process, and its link with material stoichiometry, is still poorly understood. Here we show that bimolecular charge-carrier recombination in methylammonium lead triiodide perovskite can be fully explained as the inverse process of absorption. By correctly accounting for contributions to the absorption from excitons and electron-hole continuum states, we are able to utilise the van Roosbroeck-Shockley relation to determine bimolecular recombination rate constants from absorption spectra. We show that the sharpening of photon, electron and hole distribution functions significantly enhances bimolecular charge recombination as the temperature is lowered, mirroring trends in transient spectroscopy. Our findings provide vital understanding of band-to-band recombination processes in this hybrid perovskite, which comprise direct, fully radiative transitions between thermalized electrons and holes.

The Route to Nanoscale Terahertz Technology: Nanowire-based Terahertz Detectors and Terahertz Modulators


JL Boland, K Peng, S Baig, D Damry, P Parkinson, L Fu, HH Tan, C Jagadish, LM Herz, H Joyce, M Johnston, IEEE

Hybrid Perovskites: Prospects for Concentrator Solar Cells.

Advanced science (Weinheim, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany) 5 (2018) 1700792-1700792

Q Lin, Z Wang, HJ Snaith, MB Johnston, LM Herz

Perovskite solar cells have shown a meteoric rise of power conversion efficiency and a steady pace of improvements in their stability of operation. Such rapid progress has triggered research into approaches that can boost efficiencies beyond the Shockley-Queisser limit stipulated for a single-junction cell under normal solar illumination conditions. The tandem solar cell architecture is one concept here that has recently been successfully implemented. However, the approach of solar concentration has not been sufficiently explored so far for perovskite photovoltaics, despite its frequent use in the area of inorganic semiconductor solar cells. Here, the prospects of hybrid perovskites are assessed for use in concentrator solar cells. Solar cell performance parameters are theoretically predicted as a function of solar concentration levels, based on representative assumptions of charge-carrier recombination and extraction rates in the device. It is demonstrated that perovskite solar cells can fundamentally exhibit appreciably higher energy-conversion efficiencies under solar concentration, where they are able to exceed the Shockley-Queisser limit and exhibit strongly elevated open-circuit voltages. It is therefore concluded that sufficient material and device stability under increased illumination levels will be the only significant challenge to perovskite concentrator solar cell applications.

Evidence of Nitrogen Contribution to the Electronic Structure of the CH3 NH3 PbI3 Perovskite.

Chemistry (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany) 24 (2018) 3539-3544

M Kot, K Wojciechowski, H Snaith, D Schmeißer

Despite fast development of hybrid perovskite solar cells, there are many fundamental questions related to the perovskite film which remain open. For example, there are contradicting theoretical reports on the role of the organic methylammonium cation (CH3 NH3+ ) in the methylammonium lead triiodide (CH3 NH3 PbI3 ) perovskite film. From one side it is reported that the organic cation does not contribute to electronic structure of the CH3 NH3 PbI3 film. From the other side, valence band maximum fluctuations, dependent on the CH3 NH3+ rotation, have been theoretically predicted. The resonant X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy results reported here show experimental evidence of nitrogen contribution to the CH3 NH3 PbI3 electronic structure. Moreover, the observed strong resonances of nitrogen with the I 5s and the Pb 5d-6s levels indicate that the CH3 NH3 PbI3 valence band is extended up to ≈18 eV below the Fermi energy, and therefore one should also consider these shallow core levels while modeling its electronic structure.

Room-temperature InP/InGaAs nano-ridge lasers grown on Si and emitting at telecom bands

OPTICA 5 (2018) 918-923

Y Han, WK Ng, C Ma, Q Li, S Zhu, CCS Chan, KW Ng, S Lennon, RA Taylor, KS Wong, KM Lau

Optical Aharonov-Bohm Oscillations with Disorder Effects and Wigner Molecule in a Single GaAs/AlGaAs Quantum Ring

in NanoScience and Technology, (2018) 231-254

K Kyhm, HD Kim, R Okuyama, M Eto, KC Je, RA Taylor, G Nogues, LS Dang, AAL Nicholet, M Potemski, JS Kim, JD Song

© 2018, Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature. The optical Aharonov-Bohm effect in a single quantum ring is associated with disorder effects. In the presence of structure anisotropy, localisation, internal electric field, and impurity scattering, optical Aharonov-Bohm oscillations of an electron-hole pair become modulated. Additionally, provided that a strongly correlated exciton pair is formed in a single quantum ring similar to the Wigner molecule, novel oscillations can be observed for increasing magnetic field. In this case, the biexciton emission energy changes abruptly at transition magnetic fields with a fractional oscillation period compared to that of the exciton, the so-called fractional optical Aharonov-Bohm oscillations.

Targeted Ligand-Exchange Chemistry on Cesium Lead Halide Perovskite Quantum Dots for High-Efficiency Photovoltaics.

Journal of the American Chemical Society 140 (2018) 10504-10513

LM Wheeler, EM Sanehira, AR Marshall, P Schulz, M Suri, NC Anderson, JA Christians, D Nordlund, D Sokaras, T Kroll, SP Harvey, JJ Berry, LY Lin, JM Luther

The ability to manipulate quantum dot (QD) surfaces is foundational to their technological deployment. Surface manipulation of metal halide perovskite (MHP) QDs has proven particularly challenging in comparison to that of more established inorganic materials due to dynamic surface species and low material formation energy; most conventional methods of chemical manipulation targeted at the MHP QD surface will result in transformation or dissolution of the MHP crystal. In previous work, we have demonstrated record-efficiency QD solar cells (QDSCs) based on ligand-exchange procedures that electronically couple MHP QDs yet maintain their nanocrystalline size, which stabilizes the corner-sharing structure of the constituent PbI64- octahedra with optoelectronic properties optimal for solar energy conversion. In this work, we employ a variety of spectroscopic techniques to develop a molecular-level understanding of the MHP QD surface chemistry in this system. We individually target both the anionic (oleate) and cationic (oleylammonium) ligands. We find that atmospheric moisture aids the process by hydrolysis of methyl acetate to generate acetic acid and methanol. Acetic acid then replaces native oleate ligands to yield QD surface-bound acetate and free oleic acid. The native oleylammonium ligands remain throughout this film deposition process and are exchanged during a final treatment step employing smaller cations-namely, formamidinium. This final treatment has a narrow processing window; initial treatment at this stage leads to a more strongly coupled QD regime followed by transformation into a bulk MHP film after longer treatment. These insights provide chemical understanding to the deposition of high-quality, electronically coupled MHP QD films that maintain both quantum confinement and their crystalline phase and attain high photovoltaic performance.

Nonspiro, Fluorene-Based, Amorphous Hole Transporting Materials for Efficient and Stable Perovskite Solar Cells.

Advanced science (Weinheim, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany) 5 (2018) 1700811-

Š Daškevičiū Tė, N Sakai, M Franckevičius, M Daškevičienė, A Magomedov, V Jankauskas, HJ Snaith, V Getautis

Novel nonspiro, fluorene-based, small-molecule hole transporting materials (HTMs) V1050 and V1061 are designed and synthesized using a facile three-step synthetic route. The synthesized compounds exhibit amorphous nature with a high glass transition temperature, a good solubility, and decent thermal stability. The planar perovskite solar cells (PSCs) employing V1050 generated an excellent power conversion efficiency of 18.3%, which is comparable to 18.9% obtained with the state-of-the-art Spiro-OMeTAD. Importantly, the devices based on V1050 and V1061 show better stability compared to devices based on Spiro-OMeTAD when aged without any encapsulation under uncontrolled humidity conditions (relative humidity around 60%) in the dark and under continuous full sun illumination.

The Phosphine Oxide Route toward Lead Halide Perovskite Nanocrystals.

Journal of the American Chemical Society 140 (2018) 14878-14886

G Almeida, OJ Ashton, L Goldoni, D Maggioni, U Petralanda, N Mishra, QA Akkerman, I Infante, HJ Snaith, L Manna

We report an amine-free synthesis of lead halide perovskite (LHP) nanocrystals, using trioctylphosphine oxide (TOPO) instead of aliphatic amines, in combination with a protic acid (e.g., oleic acid). The overall synthesis scheme bears many similarities to the chemistry behind the preparation of LHP thin films and single crystals, in terms of ligand coordination to the chemical precursors. The acidity of the environment and hence the extent of protonation of the TOPO molecules tune the reactivity of the PbX2 precursor, regulating the size of the nanocrystals. On the other hand, TOPO molecules are virtually absent from the surface of our nanocrystals, which are simply passivated by one type of ligand (e.g., Cs-oleate). Furthermore, our studies reveal that Cs-oleate is dynamically bound to the surface of the nanocrystals and that an optimal surface coverage is critical for achieving high photoluminescence quantum yield. Our scheme delivers NCs with a controlled size and shape: only cubes are formed, with no contamination with platelets, regardless of the reaction conditions that were tested. We attribute such a shape homogeneity to the absence of primary aliphatic amines in our reaction environment, since these are known to promote the formation of nanocrystals with sheet/platelet morphologies or layered phases under certain reaction conditions. The TOPO route is particularly appealing with regard to synthesizing LHP nanocrystals for large-scale manufacturing, as the yield in terms of material produced is close to the theoretical limit: i.e., almost all precursors employed in the synthesis are converted into nanocrystals.

Carbon Nanotubes for Quantum Dot Photovoltaics with Enhanced Light Management and Charge Transport

ACS PHOTONICS 5 (2018) 4854-4863

Y Tazawa, SN Habisreutinger, N Zhang, DAF Gregory, G Nagamine, SV Kesava, G Mazzotta, HE Assender, M Riede, LA Padilha, RJ Nicholas, AAR Watt

Template-Directed Synthesis of a Conjugated Zinc Porphyrin Nanoball.

Journal of the American Chemical Society 140 (2018) 5352-5355

J Cremers, R Haver, M Rickhaus, JQ Gong, L Favereau, MD Peeks, TDW Claridge, LM Herz, HL Anderson

We report the template-directed synthesis of a π-conjugated 14-porphyrin nanoball. This structure consists of two intersecting nanorings containing six and 10 porphyrin units. Fluorescence upconversion spectroscopy experiments demonstrate that electronic excitation delocalizes over the whole three-dimensional π system in less than 0.3 ps if the nanoball is bound to its templates or over 2 ps if the nanoball is empty.

Controlling Nucleation and Growth of Metal Halide Perovskite Thin Films for High-Efficiency Perovskite Solar Cells.

Small (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany) 13 (2017)

N Sakai, Z Wang, VM Burlakov, J Lim, D McMeekin, S Pathak, HJ Snaith

Metal halide perovskite thin films can be crystallized via a broad range of solution-based routes. However, the quality of the final films is strongly dependent upon small changes in solution composition and processing parameters. Here, this study demonstrates that a fractional substitution of PbCl2 with PbI2 in the 3CH3 NH3 I:PbCl2 mixed-halide starting solution has a profound influence upon the ensuing thin-film crystallization. The presence of PbI2 in the precursor induces a uniform distribution of regular quadrilateral-shaped CH3 NH3 PbI3 perovskite crystals in as-cast films, which subsequently grow to form pinhole-free perovskite films with highly crystalline domains. With this new formulation of 3CH3 NH3 I:0.98PbCl2 :0.02PbI2 , this study achieves a 19.1% current-voltage measured power conversion efficiency and a 17.2% stabilized power output in regular planar heterojunction solar cells.

Crystallization Kinetics and Morphology Control of Formamidinium-Cesium Mixed-Cation Lead Mixed-Halide Perovskite via Tunability of the Colloidal Precursor Solution.

Advanced materials (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) 29 (2017)

DP McMeekin, Z Wang, W Rehman, F Pulvirenti, JB Patel, NK Noel, MB Johnston, SR Marder, LM Herz, HJ Snaith

The meteoric rise of the field of perovskite solar cells has been fueled by the ease with which a wide range of high-quality materials can be fabricated via simple solution processing methods. However, to date, little effort has been devoted to understanding the precursor solutions, and the role of additives such as hydrohalic acids upon film crystallization and final optoelectronic quality. Here, a direct link between the colloids concentration present in the [HC(NH2 )2 ]0.83 Cs0.17 Pb(Br0.2 I0.8 )3 precursor solution and the nucleation and growth stages of the thin film formation is established. Using dynamic light scattering analysis, the dissolution of colloids over a time span triggered by the addition of hydrohalic acids is monitored. These colloids appear to provide nucleation sites for the perovskite crystallization, which critically impacts morphology, crystal quality, and optoelectronic properties. Via 2D X-ray diffraction, highly ordered and textured crystals for films prepared from solutions with lower colloidal concentrations are observed. This increase in material quality allows for a reduction in microstrain along with a twofold increase in charge-carrier mobilities leading to values exceeding 20 cm2 V-1 s-1 . Using a solution with an optimized colloidal concentration, devices that reach current-voltage measured power conversion efficiency of 18.8% and stabilized efficiency of 17.9% are fabricated.

Tailoring metal halide perovskites through metal substitution: influence on photovoltaic and material properties


MT Klug, A Osherov, AA Haghighirad, SD Stranks, PR Brown, S Bai, JT-W Wang, X Dang, V Bulovic, HJ Snaith, AM Belcher

Unveiling the Influence of pH on the Crystallization of Hybrid Perovskites, Delivering Low Voltage Loss Photovoltaics

Joule 1 (2017) 328-343

NK Noel, M Congiu, AJ Ramadan, S Fearn, DP McMeekin, JB Patel, MB Johnston, B Wenger, HJ Snaith

© 2017 Elsevier Inc. Impressive power conversion efficiencies coupled with the relative ease of fabrication have made perovskite solar cells a front runner for next-generation photovoltaics. Although perovskite films and optoelectronic devices have been widely studied, relatively little is known about the chemistry of the precursor solutions. Here, we present a study on the hydrolysis of N,N-dimethylformamide, correlating how pH changes related to its degradation affect the crystallization of MAPbI3−xClx perovskite films. By careful manipulation of the pH, and the resulting colloid distribution in precursor solutions, we fabricate perovskite films with greatly improved crystallinity, which when incorporated into photovoltaic devices reproducibly yield efficiencies of over 18%. Extending this method to the mixed cation, mixed halide perovskite FA0.83MA0.17Pb(I0.83Br0.17)3, we obtain power conversion efficiencies of up to 19.9% and open-circuit voltages of 1.21 V for a material with a bandgap of 1.57 eV, achieving the lowest yet reported loss in potential from bandgap to a VOC of only 360 mV. Metal halide perovskites have shown tremendous promise in optoelectronic devices and are of particular interest as absorber materials in solar cells, having achieved remarkable power conversion efficiencies in a staggeringly short period of time. Although improvements in deposition techniques have greatly increased the quality of perovskite films and have allowed perovskite solar cells to dominate the class of emerging photovoltaic technologies, relatively little focus has been placed on understanding the chemistry of the precursor solutions. Here, we elucidate how the hydrolysis and thermal decomposition of N,N-dimethylformamide, the most commonly used solvent for perovskites, has far-reaching effects on the crystallization and optoelectronic properties of perovskite films and show how controlling the degradation of this solvent allows us to achieve record low voltage losses in highly efficient perovskite solar cells. The degradation of N,N-dimethylformamide results in the formation of formic acid and dimethylamine. The changes in pH that occur as a result of this solvent degradation can be correlated to changes in the colloid concentration in perovskite precursor solutions. By tuning the pH and hence colloid concentration of these solutions, we improve the crystallization and optoelectronic quality of the perovskite films, resulting in solar cells with a record low loss in potential from bandgap to VOC of 360 mV.

Multiple exciton generation for photoelectrochemical hydrogen evolution reactions with quantum yields exceeding 100%

NATURE ENERGY 2 (2017) ARTN 17052

Y Yan, RW Crisp, J Gu, BD Chernomordik, GF Pach, AR Marshall, JA Turner, MC Beard

Electrically tunable organic-inorganic hybrid polaritons with monolayer WS2.

Nature communications 8 (2017) 14097-

LC Flatten, DM Coles, Z He, DG Lidzey, RA Taylor, JH Warner, JM Smith

Exciton-polaritons are quasiparticles consisting of a linear superposition of photonic and excitonic states, offering potential for nonlinear optical devices. The excitonic component of the polariton provides a finite Coulomb scattering cross section, such that the different types of exciton found in organic materials (Frenkel) and inorganic materials (Wannier-Mott) produce polaritons with different interparticle interaction strength. A hybrid polariton state with distinct excitons provides a potential technological route towards in situ control of nonlinear behaviour. Here we demonstrate a device in which hybrid polaritons are displayed at ambient temperatures, the excitonic component of which is part Frenkel and part Wannier-Mott, and in which the dominant exciton type can be switched with an applied voltage. The device consists of an open microcavity containing both organic dye and a monolayer of the transition metal dichalcogenide WS2. Our findings offer a perspective for electrically controlled nonlinear polariton devices at room temperature.