The Renaissance of Halide Perovskites and Their Evolution as Emerging Semiconductors

Acc Chem Res. 2015 Oct 20;48(10):2791-802. doi: 10.1021/acs.accounts.5b00229. Epub 2015 Sep 9.


The recent re-emergence of the halide perovskites, of the type AMX3, derives from a sea-changing breakthrough in the field of photovoltaics that has led to a whole new generation of solar devices with remarkable power conversion efficiency. The success in the field of photovoltaics has led to intense, combined research efforts to better understand these materials both from the fundamental chemistry and physics points of view and for the improvement of applied functional device engineering. This groundswell of activity has breathed new life into this long-known but largely "forgotten" class of perovskites. The impressive achievements of halide perovskites in photovoltaics, as well as other optoelectronic applications, stem from an unusually favorable combination of optical and electronic properties, with the ability to be solution processed into films. This defines them as a brand new class of semiconductors that can rival or exceed the performance of the venerable classes of III-V and II-IV semiconductors, which presently dominate the industries of applied optoelectronics. Our aim in this Account is to highlight the basic pillars that define the chemistry of the halide perovskites and their unconventional electronic properties through the prism of structure-property relationships. We focus on the synthetic requirements under which a halide perovskite can exist and emphasize how the synthetic conditions can determine the structural integrity and the bulk properties of the perovskites. Then we proceed to discuss the origins of the optical and electronic phenomena, using the perovskite crystal structure as a guide. Some of the most remarkable features of the perovskites dealt with in this Account include the evolution of a unique type of defect, which gives rise to superlattices. These can enhance or diminish the fluorescence properties of the perovskites. For example, the exotic self-doping ability of the Sn-based perovskites allows them to adopt electrical properties from semiconducting to metallic. We attempt to rationalize how these properties can be tuned and partially controlled through targeted synthetic procedures for use in electronic and optical devices. In addition, we address open scientific questions that pose big obstacles in understanding the fundamentals of perovskites. We anticipate that the answers to these questions will provide the impetus upon which future research directions will be founded.