When defects become ‘dynamic’: halide perovskites: a new window on materials?†
Although Pb Halide perovskites (HaPs) can be prepared as organic electronic materials, they resemble top-quality inorganic semiconductors, especially with respect to their low defect densities, as derived from optical and electronic transport studies. Among causes for such low defect densities were ‘defect-tolerance’ (proposed) and ‘self-healing’ (experimentally identified). We show that HaPs are likely an example of a class of materials that cannot support static bulk defect densities significantly above thermodynamically-dictated densities. The reasons are (a) the free energy to form HaPs (from binary halides) is less than the formation energies of (static) defects in them and (b) the small kinetic stabilization of such defects. We summarize the evidence for such a situation and conclude that higher defect densities in polycrystalline films likely result from the (expected) smaller defect formation energy at surfaces and grain boundaries than in the bulk. This situation directly limits the options for doping such materials, and leads to the counter-intuitive conclusion that a low free energy of formation (from the binaries) can lead to self-healing and, consequently, to low densities of static defects, to be distinguished from dynamic ones. The latter can be benign in terms of (opto)electronic performance, because of their relatively short lifetimes. We propose that the conditions that we formulated can serve as search criteria for other low defect density materials, which can be of interest and beneficial, also for applications beyond optoelectronics.
- This article is part of the themed collections: Materials Horizons 10th anniversary regional spotlight collection: Africa and the Middle East, Focus article collection and International Year of the Periodic Table : From Pb and Sn Perovskites to the Next Generation