Interpretation and evolution of open-circuit voltage, recombination, ideality factor and subgap defect states during reversible light-soaking and irreversible degradation of perovskite solar cells†
Metal halide perovskite absorber materials are about to emerge as a high-efficiency photovoltaic technology. At the same time, they are suitable for high-throughput manufacturing characterized by a low energy input and abundant low-cost materials. However, a further optimization of their efficiency, stability and reliability demands a more detailed optoelectronic characterization and understanding of losses including their evolution with time. In this work, we analyze perovskite solar cells with different architectures (planar, mesoporous, HTL-free), employing temperature dependent measurements (current–voltage, light intensity, electroluminescence) of the ideality factor to identify dominating recombination processes that limit the open-circuit voltage (Voc). We find that in thoroughly-optimized, high-Voc (≈1.2 V) devices recombination prevails through defects in the perovskite. On the other hand, irreversible degradation at elevated temperature is caused by the introduction of broad tail states originating from an external source (e.g. metal electrode). Light-soaking is another effect decreasing performance, though reversibly. Based on FTPS measurements, this degradation is attributed to the generation of surface defects becoming a new source of non-radiative recombination. We conclude that improving long-term stability needs to focus on adjacent layers, whereas a further optimization of efficiency of top-performing devices requires understanding of the defect physics of the nanocrystalline perovskite absorber. Finally, our work provides guidelines for the design of further dedicated studies to correctly interpret the diode ideality factor and decrease recombination losses.