Photoprotection in metal halide perovskites by ionic defect formation

N Phung and A Mattoni and JA Smith and D Skroblin and H Kobler and L Choubrac and J Breternitz and JZ Li and T Unold and S Schorr and C Gollwitzer and IG Scheblykin and EL Unger and M Saliba and S Meloni and A Abate and A Merdasa, JOULE, 6, 2152-2174 (2022).

DOI: 10.1016/j.joule.2022.06.029

Photostability is critical for long-term solar cell operation. While light-triggered defects are usually reported as evidence of material degradation, we reveal that the formation of certain defects in metal halide perovskites is crucial for protection against intense or prolonged light exposure. We identify an inherent self-regulating cycle of formation and recovery of ionic defects under light exposure that mitigates the overheating of the lattice due to hot carrier cooling, which allows exposure to several thousand suns without degrading. The excess energy instead dissipates by forming defects, which in turn alters the optoelectronic properties of the absorber, resulting in a temporary reduction of photon absorption. Defects gradually recover to restore the original optoelectronic properties of the absorber. Photoprotection is a key feature for the photostability in plants. Thus, finding a protection mechanism in metal halide perovskites similar to those in nature is encouraging for the development of long-term sustainable solar cells.

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