Organic molecular dynamics and charge-carrier lifetime in lead iodide perovskite MAPbI3 – pnas.org

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Edited by Naoto Nagaosa, RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science, Saitama, Japan; received August 26, 2021; accepted December 16, 2021
Hybrid organic–inorganic perovskites (HOIPs) are among the most promising materials for next-generation solar cells that combine high efficiency and low cost. The record efficiency of HOIP-based solar cells has reached above 25%, and they can be manufactured using simple solution-processing methods that can be drastically cheaper than the current commercial solar cell technologies. Despite the progress so far, the microscopic mechanism for the high solar cell efficiency in HOIPs is yet to be understood. In this study, we show that the ability of organic molecules to rotate on an appropriate time scale in HOIPs can extend the lifetime of photoexcited charge carriers and lead to higher efficiency. This insight can guide the progress toward improved solar cell performance.
The long charge carrier lifetime of the hybrid organic–inorganic perovskites (HOIPs) is the key for their remarkable performance as a solar cell material. The microscopic mechanism for the long lifetime is still in debate. Here, by using a muon spin relaxation technique that probes the fluctuation of local magnetic fields, we show that the muon depolarization rate (Δ) of a prototype HOIP methylammonium lead iodide (MAPbI3) shows a sharp decrease with increasing temperature in two steps above 120 K and 190 K across the structural transition from orthorhombic to tetragonal structure at 162 K. Our analysis shows that the reduction of Δ is quantitatively in agreement with the expected behavior due to the rapid development of methyl ammonium (MA) jumping rotation around the C3 and C4 symmetry axes. Our results provide direct evidence for the intimate relation between the rotation of the electric dipoles of MA molecules and the charge carrier lifetime in HOIPs.
Author contributions: A.K., H.O., M.H., R.K., K.A.D., and J.J.C. performed research; A.K. and M.H. analyzed data; A.K., R.K., and S.-H.L. wrote the paper; M.H. performed DFT calculations; K.A.D. prepared specimens; R.K. and S.-H.L. designed research; and J.J.C. prepared specimens.
The authors declare no competing interest.
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