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Concept: Lead(II) nitrate


In band-like semiconductors, charge carriers form a thermal energy distribution rapidly after optical excitation. In hybrid perovskites, the cooling of such thermal carrier distributions occurs on timescales of about 300 fs via carrier-phonon scattering. However, the initial build-up of the thermal distribution proved difficult to resolve with pump-probe techniques due to the requirement of high resolution, both in time and pump energy. Here, we use two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy with sub-10 fs resolution to directly observe the carrier interactions that lead to a thermal carrier distribution. We find that thermalization occurs dominantly via carrier-carrier scattering under the investigated fluences and report the dependence of carrier scattering rates on excess energy and carrier density. We extract characteristic carrier thermalization times from below 10 to 85 fs. These values allow for mobilities of 500 cm(2) V(-1) s(-1) at carrier densities lower than 2 × 10(19) cm(-3) and limit the time for carrier extraction in hot carrier solar cells.Carrier-carrier scattering rates determine the fundamental limits of carrier transport and electronic coherence. Using two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy with sub-10 fs resolution, Richter and Branchi et al. extract carrier thermalization times of 10 to 85 fs in hybrid perovskites.

Concepts: Uranium, Lead(II) nitrate, Heat, Sun, Density, Optics, Temperature, Fundamental physics concepts


Femtosecond resolution electron scattering techniques are applied to resolve the first atomic-scale steps following absorption of a photon in the prototypical hybrid perovskite methylammonium lead iodide. Following above-gap photoexcitation, we directly resolve the transfer of energy from hot carriers to the lattice by recording changes in the mean square atomic displacements on 10-ps time scales. Measurements of the time-dependent pair distribution function show an unexpected broadening of the iodine-iodine correlation function while preserving the Pb-I distance. This indicates the formation of a rotationally disordered halide octahedral structure developing on picosecond time scales. This work shows the important role of light-induced structural deformations within the inorganic sublattice in elucidating the unique optoelectronic functionality exhibited by hybrid perovskites and provides new understanding of hot carrier-lattice interactions, which fundamentally determine solar cell efficiencies.

Concepts: Lead(II) nitrate, Albert Einstein, Photoelectric effect, Absorption, Photon, Compton scattering, Electron, Solar cell


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


Sequential deposition has been extensively used for the fabrication of perovskite solar cells. Nevertheless, fundamental aspects of the kinetics of methylammonium lead iodide perovskite formation remain obscure. We scrutinize the individual stages of the reaction and investigate the crystallization of the lead iodide film, which occurs before the intercalation of methylammonium iodide commences. Our study identifies the presence of mixed crystalline aggregates composed of perovskite and lead iodide during intercalation and structural reorganization. Furthermore, Ostwald ripening occurs in the film for reaction times beyond the point of conversion to perovskite. Using cross-sectional confocal laser scanning microscopy for the first time, we reveal that lead iodide in the over-layer and at the bottom of the mesoporous layer converts first. We identify unreacted lead iodide trapped in the mesoporous layer for samples of complete conversion. We acquire kinetic data by varying different parameters and find that the Avrami models best represent them. The model facilitates the rapid estimation of the reaction time for complete conversion for a variety of reaction conditions, thereby ascertaining a major factor previously determined by extensive experimentation. This comprehensive picture of the sequential deposition is essential for control over the perovskite film quality, which determines solar cell efficiency. Our results provide key insights to realize high-quality perovskite films for optoelectronic applications.

Concepts: Photovoltaics, Solar power, Wafer, Photodiode, Lead(II) nitrate, Geology, Quantum dot, Solar cell


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


Optimizing the morphology of metal halide perovskite films is an important way to improve the performance of solar cells when these materials are used as light harvesters, because film homogeneity is correlated with photovoltaic performance. Many device architectures and processing techniques have been explored with the aim of achieving high-performance devices, including single-step deposition, sequential deposition and anti-solvent methods. Earlier studies have looked at the influence of reaction conditions on film quality, such as the concentration of the reactants and the reaction temperature. However, the precise mechanism of the reaction and the main factors that govern it are poorly understood. The consequent lack of control is the main reason for the large variability observed in perovskite morphology and the related solar-cell performance. Here we show that light has a strong influence on the rate of perovskite formation and on film morphology in both of the main deposition methods currently used: sequential deposition and the anti-solvent method. We study the reaction of a metal halide (lead iodide) with an organic compound (methylammonium iodide) using confocal laser scanning fluorescence microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. The lead iodide crystallizes before the intercalation of methylammonium iodide commences, producing the methylammonium lead iodide perovskite. We find that the formation of perovskite via such a sequential deposition is much accelerated by light. The influence of light on morphology is reflected in a doubling of solar-cell efficiency. Conversely, using the anti-solvent method to form methyl ammonium lead iodide perovskite in a single step from the same starting materials, we find that the best photovoltaic performance is obtained when films are produced in the dark. The discovery of light-activated crystallization not only identifies a previously unknown source of variability in opto-electronic properties, but also opens up new ways of tuning morphology and structuring perovskites for various applications.

Concepts: Solar cell, Fluorescence, Confocal microscopy, Microscope, Lead(II) nitrate, Light, Scanning electron microscope, Electron