Impact of the organic cation on the band-edge emission of two-dimensional lead-bromide perovskites

Nanoscale. 2023 Aug 10;15(31):12880-12888. doi: 10.1039/d3nr02172f.


Organic-inorganic low-dimensional layered metal-halide perovskites are semiconductors in which the optoelectronic properties can be tuned by the material composition and the design of the layered architecture. While the electronic band structure is mainly determined by the inorganic octahedra lattice, the binding and conformation of the organic cations induces related lattice distortions that can break the symmetry and lead to the splitting of the exciton energy levels, and influence the dielectric confinement. Furthermore, organic-induced lattice deformations lead to offsets in k-space (where k is the wavevector) that go along with the exciton energy level splitting. Hence, the electronic transitions between these levels require the momentum contribution of phonons, and contributions of phonons in the exciton recombination dynamics result in thermal broadening of the emission linewidth. In this work, we investigate the band-edge emission of two-dimensional Ruddlesden-Popper lead-bromide perovskites synthesized with different organic cations that vary in their binding head group and their alkyl chain length. We find several peaks in the low-temperature photoluminescence spectra, and the number of peaks in the band-edge emission and their decay dynamics depend strongly on the type of organic cation in the material, which we relate to the difference in the inorganic lattice distortions that the cations induce. For two-dimensional layered perovskites with mainly in-plane distortions, induced by short primary ammonium molecules, we find a two-fold splitting of the band edge emission at low temperatures. If also out-of-plane distortions are present, as for the long-chain primary ammoniums, a three-fold splitting is observed. Interestingly, the low-energy peaks of the split series merge into the highest energy peak with increasing temperature. Thermal broadening analysis of the temperature-dependent photoluminescence linewidth in the structures with out-of-plane distortions yields energies that are larger than those reported for the inorganic lattice phonons. This indicates the involvement of either high-frequency oscillations involving the organic cations, or the broadening might be related to higher order phonon scattering processes in the excitonic recombination process. The strong directionality of the phonon modes in the octahedral lattice could promote the involvement of multiple electron-phonon scattering processes in the exciton relaxation dynamics, for example involving modes with orthogonal directionality.