Energy and charge transfer cascade in methylammonium lead bromide perovskite nanoparticle aggregates
Highly photoluminescent hybrid lead halide perovskite nanoparticles have recently attracted wide interest in the context of high-stake applications, such as light emitting diodes (LEDs), light emitting transistors and lasers. In addition, they constitute ideal model systems to explore energy and charge transport phenomena occurring at the boundaries of nanocrystalline grains forming thin films in high-efficiency perovskite solar cells (PSCs). Here we report a complete photophysical study of CH3NH3PbBr3 perovskite nanoparticles suspended in chlorobenzene and highlight some important interaction properties. Colloidal suspensions under study were constituted of dispersed aggregates of quasi-2D platelets of a range of thicknesses, decorated with 3D-like spherical nanoparticles. These types of nanostructures possess different optical properties that afford a handle for probing them individually. The photophysics of the colloidal particles was studied by femtosecond pump-probe spectroscopy and time-correlated single-photon counting. We show here that a cascade of energy and exciton-mediated charge transfer occurs between nanostructures: upon photoexcitation, localized excitons within one nanostructure can either recombine on a ps timescale, yielding a short-lived emission, or form charge-transfer states (CTSs) across adjacent domains, resulting in longer-lived photoluminescence in the millisecond timescale. Furthermore, CTSs exhibit a clear signature in the form of a strong photoinduced electroabsorption evidenced in femtosecond transient absorption measurements. Charge transfer dynamics at the surface of the nanoparticles have been studied with various quenchers in solution. Efficient hole transfer to N,N,N′,N′-tetrakis(4-methoxyphenyl)benzidine (MeO-TPD) and 1,4-bis(diphenyl-amino)benzene (BDB) donors was attested by the quenching of the nanoparticles emission. The charge transfer rate was limited by the organic layer used to stabilize the nanoparticles, which acted as a wide spacer between reactants. The forward charge transfer was found to take place in the sub-microsecond time-scale in competition with slow carrier recombination, while back transfer was shown to occur with a time-constant τ = 25 ms.