Identifying the Molecular Structures of Intermediates for Optimizing the Fabrication of High-Quality Perovskite Films

J Am Chem Soc. 2016 Aug 10;138(31):9919-26. doi: 10.1021/jacs.6b04924. Epub 2016 Aug 1.


During the past two years, the introduction of DMSO has revolutionized the fabrication of high-quality pervoskite MAPbI3 (MA = CH3NH3) films for solar cell applications. In the developed DMSO process, the formation of (MA)2Pb3I8·2DMSO (shorted as Pb3I8) has well recognized as a critical factor to prepare high-quality pervoskite films and thus accomplish excellent performances in perovskite solar cells. However, Pb3I8 is an I-deficient intermediate and must further react with methylammonium iodide (MAI) to be fully converted into MAPbI3. By capturing and solving the molecular structures of several intermediates involved in the fabrication of perovskite films, we report in this work that the importance of DMSO is NOT due to the formation of Pb3I8. The use of different PbI2-DMSO ratios leads to two different structures of PbI2-DMSO precursors (PbI2·DMSO and PbI2·2DMSO), thus dramatically influencing the quality of fabricated perovskite films. However, such an influence can be minimized when the PbI2-DMSO precursor films are thermally treated to create mesoporous PbI2 films before reacting with MAI. Such a development makes the fabrication of high-quality pervoskite films highly reproducible without the need to precisely control the PbI2:DMSO ratio. Moreover, the formation of ionic compound (MA)4PbI6 is observed when excess MAI is used in the preparation of perovskite film. This I-rich phase heavily induces the hysteresis in PSCs, but is readily removed by isopropanol treatment. On the basis of all these findings, we develop a new effective protocol to fabricate high-performance PSCs. In the new protocol, high-quality perovskite films are prepared by simply treating the mesoporous PbI2 films (made from PbI2-DMSO precursors) with an isopropanol solution of MAI, followed by isopropanol washing. The best efficiency of fabricated MAPbI3 PSCs is up to 19.0%. As compared to the previously reported DMSO method, the devices fabricated by the method reported in this work display narrow efficiency distributions in both forward and reverse scans. And the efficiency difference between forward and reverse scans is much smaller.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't