Research ArticlePHYSICS

Strong self-trapping by deformation potential limits photovoltaic performance in bismuth double perovskite

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Science Advances  17 Feb 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 8, eabd3160
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd3160


Bismuth-based double perovskite Cs2AgBiBr6 is regarded as a potential candidate for low-toxicity, high-stability perovskite solar cells. However, its performance is far from satisfactory. Albeit being an indirect bandgap semiconductor, we observe bright emission with large bimolecular recombination coefficient (reaching 4.5 ± 0.1 × 10−11 cm3 s−1) and low charge carrier mobility (around 0.05 cm2 s−1 V−1). Besides intermediate Fröhlich couplings present in both Pb-based perovskites and Cs2AgBiBr6, we uncover evidence of strong deformation potential by acoustic phonons in the latter through transient reflection, time-resolved terahertz measurements, and density functional theory calculations. The Fröhlich and deformation potentials synergistically lead to ultrafast self-trapping of free carriers forming polarons highly localized on a few units of the lattice within a few picoseconds, which also breaks down the electronic band picture, leading to efficient radiative recombination. The strong self-trapping in Cs2AgBiBr6 could impose intrinsic limitations for its application in photovoltaics.

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