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Polymer-templated nucleation and crystal growth of perovskite films for solar cells with efficiency greater than 21%



The past several years have witnessed the rapid emergence of a class of solar cells based on mixed organic–inorganic halide perovskites. Today’s state-of-the-art perovskite solar cells (PSCs) employ various methods to enhance nucleation and improve the smoothness of the perovskite films formed via solution processing. However, the lack of precise control over the crystallization process creates a risk of forming unwanted defects, for example, pinholes and grain boundaries. Here, we introduce an approach to prepare perovskite films of high electronic quality by using poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) as a template to control nucleation and crystal growth. We obtain shiny smooth perovskite films of excellent electronic quality, as manifested by a remarkably long photoluminescence lifetime. We realize stable PSCs with excellent reproducibility showing a power conversion efficiency (PCE) of up to 21.6% and a certified PCE of 21.02% under standard AM 1.5G reporting conditions.

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Figure 1: Device structure and performance.
Figure 2: Scanning electron microscopy images.
Figure 3: Material characterization of perovskite films.


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The authors would like to thank P. Mettraux of the Molecular and Hybrid Materials Characterization Center, EPFL for help with XPS measurements. F.Z. thanks the China Scholarship Council for funding. M.G. and S.M.Z. thank the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) for financial support. D.B., M.G. and S.M.Z. are grateful for financial support from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), the SNSF NRP 70 ‘Energy Turnaround’, CCEM-CH in the 9th call proposal 906: CONNECT PV, as well as from SNF-NanoTera (SYNERGY) and the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SYNERGY), and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 687008 (GOTSolar). The information and views set out in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use that which may be made of the information contained herein.

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Authors and Affiliations



D.B. conceived and carried out the experimental study on device fabrication and basic characterization, including photovoltaic measurement and XRD, and wrote the manuscript together with M.G., X.L. and C.Y. C.Y. assisted with PL and XPS measurements. F.Z. provided TiO2 films. J.L. carried out the SEM measurements. J.-D.D. and S.M.Z. assisted with the certification. X.L. assisted in fabricating the device and preparing the manuscript. A.H. and M.G. supervised the project.

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Correspondence to Michael Grätzel.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figures 1–5 and Supplementary Tables 1–3 (PDF 1091 kb)

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Bi, D., Yi, C., Luo, J. et al. Polymer-templated nucleation and crystal growth of perovskite films for solar cells with efficiency greater than 21%. Nat Energy 1, 16142 (2016).

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