“From Solution to Solar Cells: How Can We Make Better Photovoltaic Materials?” by CFD Postdoc Candidate.
A major challenge in energy research is to make solar energy more affordable and accessible to everyone. Hybrid organic-inorganic perovskites, such as methylammonium lead iodide (CH3NH3PbI3), have recently attracted much attention for use in inexpensive, high-performance solar cells. Controlling the quality of the crystalline perovskite films used in solar cells requires a better understanding of the mechanisms by which these materials crystallize from solution. To elucidate the effect of solvent choice on the crystallization pathway, we combined computational modeling of molecular-level solvent–solute interactions in perovskite growth solutions with experimental monitoring of film phase evolution. We have also employed in situ microscopy techniques to directly observe perovskite crystal growth in real-time. Our findings emphasize how we can control the morphology of the resulting perovskite crystals by tailoring the synthesis conditions.