Connecting the solution chemistry of PbI2 and MAI: a cyclodextrin-based supramolecular approach to the formation of hybrid halide perovskites†
The evolution from solvated precursors to hybrid halide perovskite films dictates most of the photophysical and optoelectronic properties of the final polycrystalline material. Specifically, the complex equilibria and the importantly different solubilities of lead iodide (PbI2) and methylammonium iodide (MAI) induce inhomogeneous crystal growth, often leading to a defect dense film showing non-optimal optoelectronic properties and intrinsic instability. Here, we explore a supramolecular approach based on the use of cyclodextrins (CDs) to modify the underlying solution chemistry. The peculiar phenomenon demonstrated is a tunable complexation between different CDs and MA+ cations concurrent to an out of cage PbI2 intercalation, representing the first report of a connection between the solvation equilibria of the two perovskite precursors. The optimal conditions in terms of CD cavity size and polarity translate to a neat enhancement of PbI2 solubility in the reaction media, leading to an equilibration of the availability of the precursors in solution. The macroscopic result of this is an improved nucleation process, leading to a perovskite material with higher crystallinity, better optical properties and improved moisture resistance. Remarkably, the use of CDs presents a great potential for a wide range of device-related applications, as well as for the development of tailored composite materials.