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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Mechanism of Additive-Assisted Room-Temperature Processing of Metal Halide Perovskite Thin Films.


Perovskite solar cells have received substantial attention due to their potential for low-cost photovoltaic devices on flexible or rigid substrates. Thiocyanate (SCN)-containing additives, such as MASCN (MA = methylammonium), have been shown to control perovskite film crystallization and the film microstructure to achieve effective room-temperature perovskite absorber processing. Nevertheless, the crystallization pathways and mechanisms of perovskite formation involved in MASCN additive processing are far from clear. Using in situ X-ray diffraction and photoluminescence, we investigate the crystallization pathways of MAPbI3 and reveal the mechanisms of additive-assisted perovskite formation during spin coating and subsequent N2 drying. We confirm that MASCN induces large precursor aggregates in solution and, during spin coating, promotes the formation of the perovskite phase with lower nucleation density and overall larger initial nuclei size, which forms upon reaching supersaturation in solution, in addition to intermediate solvent-complex phases. Finally, during the subsequent N2 drying, MASCN facilitates the dissociation of these precursor aggregates and the solvate phases, leading to further growth of the perovskite crystals. Our results show that the nature of the intermediate phases and their formation/dissociation kinetics determine the nucleation and growth of the perovskite phase, which subsequently impact the film microstructure. These findings provide mechanistic insights underlying room-temperature, additive-assisted perovskite processing and help guide further development of such facile room-temperature synthesis routes.

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