Revealing the detailed path of sequential deposition for metal halide perovskite formation

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Science Advances  02 Feb 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 2, e1701402
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1701402

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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.

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