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Concept: Lead(II) nitrate


The band gap of formamidinium lead iodide (FAPbI3) perovskites allows broader absorption of the solar spectrum compared to conventional methylammonium lead iodide (MAPbI3). The optoelectronic properties of perovskite films are closely related to the film-quality, so depositing dense and uniform films is crucial for fabricating high-performance perovskite solar cells (PSCs). We report an approach for depositing high-quality FAPbI3 films, involving FAPbI3 crystallization by the direct intramolecular exchange of dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) molecules intercalated in PbI2 with formamidinium iodide. This process produces FAPbI3 films with (111)-preferred crystallographic orientation, large-grained dense microstructures, and flat surfaces without residual PbI2. Using films prepared by this technique, FAPbI3-based PSCs with maximum power conversion efficiency of over 20% were fabricated.

Concepts: Crystallography, Photovoltaics, Energy conversion, Energy conversion efficiency, Photodiode, Band gap, Lead(II) nitrate, Solar cell


For the first time, micro/nano-sized lead iodide hydroxide; Pb(OH)I, has been successfully prepared via a simple ultrasonic method. In this method, lead nitrate and lithium iodide were applied as starting reagents to fabricate Pb(OH)I micro/nanostructures at different conditions. The effect of different surfactants like N,N-bis(salicylidene)-ethylenediamine (H2salen), sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), sonication time, and ultrasonic intensity on the morphology and particle size of the products has been investigated. The as-produced micro/nanostructures were characterized with the aid of XRD, SEM, TEM, UV-vis, EDS and FT-IR. According to the SEM images, different morphologies of Pb(OH)I including micro- and nano-sized rods were formed by changing the preparation conditions. Based on the XRD results, it was found that Pb(OH)I and PbI2 have been produced with and without sonication at the same conditions, respectively. The use of the H2salen and sonication treatment were confirmed to be the crucial factors determining the formation of one-dimensional Pb(OH)I micro/nanostructures.

Concepts: Iodides, Sodium, Lead(II) iodide, Lead(II) nitrate


Organo-lead halide perovskites have attracted much attention for solar cell applications due to their unique optical and electrical properties. With either low-temperature solution processing or vacuum evaporation, the overall conversion efficiencies of perovskite solar cells with organic hole-transporting material were quickly improved to over 15% during the last 2 years. However, the organic hole-transporting materials used are normally quite expensive due to complicated synthetic procedure or high-purity requirement. Here, we demonstrate the application of an effective and cheap inorganic p-type hole-transporting material, copper thiocyanate, on lead halide perovskite-based devices. With low-temperature solution-process deposition method, a power conversion efficiency of 12.4% was achieved under full sun illumination. This work represents a well-defined cell configuration with optimized perovskite morphology by two times of lead iodide deposition, and opens the door for integration of a class of abundant and inexpensive material for photovoltaic application.

Concepts: Lead(II) nitrate, Photovoltaic module, Photovoltaic array, Oxygen, Energy conversion, Photovoltaics, Energy conversion efficiency, Solar cell


We present femtosecond broadband transient absorption experiments for the investigation of the carrier dynamics in the organolead trihalide perovskite CH3NH3PbI3. The perovskite was prepared on a mesoporous TiO2 scaffold either by 1-step deposition from solution or by 2-step methods employing deposition of lead iodide followed by an on-surface reaction with methylammonium iodide. The thin films were characterized by XRD and FTIR chemical mapping. After pumping with an ultrashort laser pulse at 400 or 500 nm, the dynamics were monitored by a broadband supercontinuum reaching from the near IR (920 nm) into the UV. Specifically, the usage of quartz substrates and thin perovskite/TiO2 films enabled us to cover the spectral development down to 320 nm. The charge carrier dynamics were largely independent from the specific route of perovskite preparation: initial ultrafast carrier relaxation steps with time constants τCC and τCOP of <0.08, 0.2 and 2.6 ps were assigned to carrier-carrier and carrier-optical phonon scattering. Pronounced sub-band-gap absorption was found in the near IR at early times. Transient carrier temperatures were extracted from a Boltzmann fit to the blue wing of the photobleach band in the time range 0.2-700 ps, allowing us to distinguish between the decay of acoustic phonons (τAP = 50 and >1000 ps) and Auger recombination (τAR = 9, 75 and 450 ps). Carrier relaxation was accompanied by formation of an absorption band around 550 nm, with a characteristic structure assignable to a transient Stark effect, i.e. a red-shift of the perovskite spectrum due to the appearance of a directed electric field in the material and possibly additional influence of lattice heating. We observed a substantial Stokes shift between the relaxed photobleach and photoluminescence bands. Contributions of unreacted PbI2 to the transient absorption features appear to be negligible.

Concepts: Stark effect, Stokes shift, The Carrier, Infrared, Lead(II) nitrate, Solar cell, Phonon, Spectroscopy


High-quality formamidinium lead iodide (FAPbI3) perovskite thin films are fabricated via organic cation exchange. With ammonia lead iodide (NH4PbI3) as the starting material, the NH4(+) in NH4PbI3 could be gradually substituted by FA(+) in formamidine acetate (FA-Ac) and simultaneously transformed to the pure phase α-FAPbI3 at elevated temperature.

Concepts: Chemical vapor deposition, Cation exchange capacity, Organic chemistry, Chemistry, Hydrogen, Lead(II) nitrate


The Shockley-Queisser limit for solar cell efficiency can be overcome if hot carriers can be harvested before they thermalize. Recently, carrier cooling time up to 100 picoseconds was observed in hybrid perovskites, but it is unclear whether these long-lived hot carriers can migrate long distance for efficient collection. We report direct visualization of hot-carrier migration in methylammonium lead iodide (CH3NH3PbI3) thin films by ultrafast transient absorption microscopy, demonstrating three distinct transport regimes. Quasiballistic transport was observed to correlate with excess kinetic energy, resulting in up to 230 nanometers transport distance that could overcome grain boundaries. The nonequilibrium transport persisted over tens of picoseconds and ~600 nanometers before reaching the diffusive transport limit. These results suggest potential applications of hot-carrier devices based on hybrid perovskites.

Concepts: Real number, Lead(II) nitrate, Metric space, Rigid body, Potential energy, Kinetic energy, Energy, Solar cell


Of the many materials and methodologies aimed at producing low-cost, efficient photovoltaic cells, inorganic-organic lead halide perovskite materials appear particularly promising for next-generation solar devices owing to their high power conversion efficiency. The highest efficiencies reported for perovskite solar cells so far have been obtained mainly with methylammonium lead halide materials. Here we combine the promising-owing to its comparatively narrow bandgap-but relatively unstable formamidinium lead iodide (FAPbI3) with methylammonium lead bromide (MAPbBr3) as the light-harvesting unit in a bilayer solar-cell architecture. We investigated phase stability, morphology of the perovskite layer, hysteresis in current-voltage characteristics, and overall performance as a function of chemical composition. Our results show that incorporation of MAPbBr3 into FAPbI3 stabilizes the perovskite phase of FAPbI3 and improves the power conversion efficiency of the solar cell to more than 18 per cent under a standard illumination of 100 milliwatts per square centimetre. These findings further emphasize the versatility and performance potential of inorganic-organic lead halide perovskite materials for photovoltaic applications.

Concepts: Solar cells, Energy conversion, Lead(II) nitrate, Energy conversion efficiency, Photovoltaic array, Photovoltaic module, Photovoltaics, Solar cell


The degree to which DNA-linked particle crystals, particularly those composed of micrometer-scale colloids, are able to dynamically evolve or whether they are kinetically arrested after formation remains poorly understood. Here, we study a recently observed displacive transformation in colloidal binary superlattice crystals, whereby a body-centered cubic to face-centered cubic transformation is found to proceed spontaneously under some annealing conditions. Using a comprehensive suite of computer simulation tools, we develop a framework for analyzing the many displacive transformation pathways corresponding to distinct, but energetically degenerate, random hexagonal close-packed end states. Due to the short-ranged, spherically symmetric nature of the particle interactions the pathways are all barrierless, suggesting that all end states should be equally likely. Instead, we find that hydrodynamic correlations between particles result in anisotropic mobility along the various possible displacive pathways, strongly selecting for pathways that lead to the fcc-CuAu-I configuration, explaining recent experimental observations. This finding may provide clues for discovering new approaches for controlling structure in this emerging class of materials.

Concepts: Diffusionless transformations, Cubic crystal system, Scientific method, Lead(II) nitrate, Space group, Atomic packing factor, Crystallography, Crystal system


Solar cells based on organic-inorganic halide perovskites have recently shown rapidly rising power conversion efficiencies, but exhibit unusual behaviour such as current-voltage hysteresis and a low-frequency giant dielectric response. Ionic transport has been suggested to be an important factor contributing to these effects; however, the chemical origin of this transport and the mobile species are unclear. Here, the activation energies for ionic migration in methylammonium lead iodide (CH3NH3PbI3) are derived from first principles, and are compared with kinetic data extracted from the current-voltage response of a perovskite-based solar cell. We identify the microscopic transport mechanisms, and find facile vacancy-assisted migration of iodide ions with an activation energy of 0.6 eV, in good agreement with the kinetic measurements. The results of this combined computational and experimental study suggest that hybrid halide perovskites are mixed ionic-electronic conductors, a finding that has major implications for solar cell device architectures.

Concepts: Lead(II) nitrate, Energy conversion efficiency, Chemistry, Capacitor, Fundamental physics concepts, Ion, Energy, Solar cell


A detailed analysis of the C(sp³)-H activation process by vinylidene Au(I) complexes is described based on an intrinsic bond orbital analysis. Based on our analysis this event can be divided into three phases: (i) hydride transfer, (ii) C-C bond formation, and (iii) σ to π rearrangement of the lone pair coordinated to Au. Small perturbations of the system lead to either a concerted asynchronous reaction, or a stepwise reaction featuring an intermediate with a C-H-C three-centre two-electron (3c-2e) bond. The role of π-donating substituents is highlighted and provides a way of controlling reactions of this type in future experimental studies.

Concepts: Organic reaction, Chemical reaction, Type theory, Lone pair, Control theory, Lead(II) nitrate