Grain boundary sliding and distortion on a nanosecond timescale induce trap states in CsPbBr3: ab initio investigation with machine learning force field

DY Liu and YF Wu and AS Vasenko and OV Prezhdo, NANOSCALE, 15, 285-293 (2022).

DOI: 10.1039/d2nr05918e

Grain boundaries (GBs) in perovskite solar cells and optoelectronic devices are widely regarded as detrimental defects that accelerate charge and energy losses through nonradiative carrier trapping and recombination, but the mechanism is still under debate owing to the diversity of GB configurations and behaviors. We combine ab initio electronic structure and machine learning force field to investigate evolution of the geometric and electronic structure of a CsPbBr3 GB on a nanosecond timescale, which is comparable with the carrier recombination time. We demonstrate that the GB slides spontaneously within a few picoseconds increasing the band gap. Subsequent structural oscillations dynamically produce midgap trap states through Pb-Pb interactions across the GB. After several hundred picoseconds, structural distortions start to occur, increasing the occurrence of deep midgap states. We identify a distinct correlation of the average Pb-Pb distance and fluctuations in the ion coordination numbers with the appearance of the midgap states. Suppressing GB distortions through annealing and breaking up Pb-Pb dimers by passivation can efficiently alleviate the detrimental effects of GBs in perovskites. The study provides new insights into passivation of the detrimental GB defects, and demonstrates that structural and charge carrier dynamics in perovskites are intimately coupled.

Return to Publications page