Article | Published:

Systematic investigation of the impact of operation conditions on the degradation behaviour of perovskite solar cells

Nature Energyvolume 3pages6167 (2018) | Download Citation


Perovskite solar cells have achieved power-conversion efficiency values approaching those of established photovoltaic technologies, making the reliable assessment of their operational stability the next essential step towards commercialization. Although studies increasingly often involve a form of stability characterization, they are conducted in non-standardized ways, which yields data that are effectively incomparable. Furthermore, stability assessment of a novel material system with its own peculiarities might require an adjustment of common standards. Here, we investigate the effects of different environmental factors and electrical load on the ageing behaviour of perovskite solar cells. On this basis, we comment on our perceived relevance of the different ways these are currently aged. We also demonstrate how the results of the experiments can be distorted and how to avoid the common pitfalls. We hope this work will initiate discussion on how to age perovskite solar cells and facilitate the development of consensus stability measurement protocols.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Additional information

Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.


  1. 1.

    Correa-Baena, J.-P. et al. The rapid evolution of highly efficient perovskite solar cells. Energy Environ. Sci. 10, 710–727 (2017).

  2. 2.

    Priyadarshi, A. et al. A large area (70 cm2) monolithic perovskite solar module with a high efficiency and stability. Energy Environ. Sci. 9, 3687–3692 (2016).

  3. 3.

    Hu, Y. et al. Stable large-area (10×10 cm2) printable mesoscopic perovskite module exceeding 10% efficiency. Sol. RRL 1, 1600019 (2017).

  4. 4.

    Agresti, A. et al. Graphene interface engineering for perovskite solar modules: 12.6% power conversion efficiency over 50 cm2 active area. ACS Energy Lett. 2, 279–287 (2017).

  5. 5.

    Conings, B. et al. Intrinsic thermal instability of methylammonium lead trihalide perovskite. Adv. Energy Mater. 5, 1500477 (2015).

  6. 6.

    You, J. et al. Improved air stability of perovskite solar cells via solution-processed metal oxide transport layers. Nat. Nanotechnol. 11, 75–81 (2016).

  7. 7.

    Saliba, M. et al. Incorporation of rubidium cations into perovskite solar cells improves photovoltaic performance. Science 354, 206–209 (2016).

  8. 8.

    Anaraki, E. H. et al. Highly efficient and stable planar perovskite solar cells by solution-processed tin oxide. Energy Environ. Sci. 9, 3128–3134 (2016).

  9. 9.

    Zimmermann, E. et al. Erroneous efficiency reports harm organic solar cell research. Nat. Photon. 8, 669–672 (2014).

  10. 10.

    Snaith, H. J. et al. Anomalous hysteresis in perovskite solar cells. J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 5, 1511–1515 (2014).

  11. 11.

    Tress, W. et al. Understanding the rate-dependent JV hysteresis, slow time component, and aging in CH3NH3PbI3 perovskite solar cells: the role of a compensated electric field. Energy Environ. Sci. 8, 995–1004 (2015).

  12. 12.

    Reese, M. O. et al. Consensus stability testing protocols for organic photovoltaic materials and devices. Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells 95, 1253–1267 (2011).

  13. 13.

    Saliba, M. et al. Cesium-containing triple cation perovskite solar cells: improved stability, reproducibility and high efficiency. Energy Environ. Sci. 9, 1989–1997 (2016).

  14. 14.

    Leijtens, T. et al. Overcoming ultraviolet light instability of sensitized TiO2 with meso-superstructured organometal tri-halide perovskite solar cells. Nat. Commun. 4, 3885 (2013).

  15. 15.

    Shin, S. S. et al. Colloidally prepared La-doped BaSnO3 electrodes for efficient, photostable perovskite solar cells. Science 356, 167–171 (2017).

  16. 16.

    Lee, S.-W. et al. UV degradation and recovery of perovskite solar cells. Sci. Rep. 6, 38150 (2016).

  17. 17.

    Li, W. et al. Enhanced UV-light stability of planar heterojunction perovskite solar cells with caesium bromide interface modification. Energy Environ. Sci. 9, 490–498 (2016).

  18. 18.

    Bella, F. et al. Improving efficiency and stability of perovskite solar cells with photocurable fluoropolymers. Science 354, 203–206 (2016).

  19. 19.

    Aristidou, N. et al. The role of oxygen in the degradation of methylammonium lead trihalide perovskite photoactive layers. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 54, 8208–8212 (2015).

  20. 20.

    Pearson, A. J. et al. Oxygen degradation in mesoporous Al2O3/CH3NH3PbI3–x Cl x perovskite solar cells: kinetics and mechanisms. Adv. Energy Mater. 6, 1600014 (2016).

  21. 21.

    Bryant, D. et al. Light and oxygen induced degradation limits the operational stability of methylammonium lead triiodide perovskite solar cells. Energy Environ. Sci. 9, 1655–1660 (2016).

  22. 22.

    Yang, J., Siempelkamp, B. D., Liu, D. & Kelly, T. L. Investigation of CH3NH3PbI3 degradation rates and mechanisms in controlled humidity environments using in situ techniques. ACS Nano 9, 1955–1963 (2015).

  23. 23.

    Christians, J. A., Miranda Herrera, P. A. & Kamat, P. V. Transformation of the excited state and photovoltaic efficiency of CH3NH3PbI3 perovskite upon controlled exposure to humidified air. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 137, 1530–1538 (2015).

  24. 24.

    Hwang, I., Jeong, I., Lee, J., Ko, M. J. & Yong, K. Enhancing stability of perovskite solar cells to moisture by the facile hydrophobic passivation. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 7, 17330–17336 (2015).

  25. 25.

    Long, M. et al. Nonstoichiometric acid–base reaction as reliable synthetic route to highly stable CH3NH3PbI3 perovskite film. Nat. Commun. 7, 13503 (2016).

  26. 26.

    Chen, W. et al. Efficient and stable large-area perovskite solar cells with inorganic charge extraction layers. Science 350, 944–948 (2015).

  27. 27.

    Brivio, F., Caetano, C. & Walsh, A. Thermodynamic origin of photoinstability in the CH3NH3Pb(I1–x Br x )3 hybrid halide perovskite alloy. J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 7, 1083–1087 (2016).

  28. 28.

    Divitini, G. et al. In situ observation of heat-induced degradation of perovskite solar cells. Nat. Energy 1, 15012 (2016).

  29. 29.

    Domanski, K. et al. Not all that glitters is gold: metal-migration-induced degradation in perovskite solar cells. ACS Nano 10, 6306–6314 (2016).

  30. 30.

    Gholipour, S. et al. Highly efficient and stable perovskite solar cells based on a low-cost carbon cloth. Adv. Energy Mater. 6, 1601116 (2016).

  31. 31.

    Aitola, K. et al. High temperature-stable perovskite solar cell based on low-cost carbon nanotube hole contact. Adv. Mater. 29, 1606398 (2017).

  32. 32.

    Bush, K. A. et al. Thermal and environmental stability of semi-transparent perovskite solar cells for tandems enabled by a solution-processed nanoparticle buffer layer and sputtered ITO electrode. Adv. Mater. 28, 3937–3943 (2016).

  33. 33.

    Bush, K. A. et al. 23.6%-efficient monolithic perovskite/silicon tandem solar cells with improved stability. Nat. Energy 2, 20179 (2017).

  34. 34.

    Zhao, X., Kim, H.-S., Seo, J.-Y. & Park, N.-G. Effect of selective contacts on the thermal stability of perovskite solar cells. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 9, 7148–7153 (2017).

  35. 35.

    Eames, C. et al. Ionic transport in hybrid lead iodide perovskite solar cells. Nat. Commun. 6, 7497 (2015).

  36. 36.

    Meloni, S. et al. Ionic polarization-induced current–voltage hysteresis in CH3NH3PbX3 perovskite solar cells. Nat. Commun. 7, 10334 (2016).

  37. 37.

    Nie, W. et al. Light-activated photocurrent degradation and self-healing in perovskite solar cells. Nat. Commun. 7, 11574 (2016).

  38. 38.

    Huang, W., Manser, J. S., Kamat, P. V. & Ptasinska, S. Evolution of chemical composition, morphology, and photovoltaic efficiency of CH3NH3PbI3 perovskite under ambient conditions. Chem. Mater. 28, 303–311 (2016).

  39. 39.

    Bag, M. et al. Kinetics of ion transport in perovskite active layers and its implications for active layer stability. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 137, 13130–13137 (2015).

  40. 40.

    Tress, W., Correa Baena, J. P., Saliba, M., Abate, A. & Graetzel, M. Inverted current–voltage hysteresis in mixed perovskite solar cells: polarization, energy barriers, and defect recombination. Adv. Energy Mater. 6, 1600396 (2016).

  41. 41.

    Domanski, K. et al. Migration of cations induces reversible performance losses over day/night cycling in perovskite solar cells. Energy Environ. Sci. 10, 604–613 (2017).

  42. 42.

    Abate, A. et al. Silolothiophene-linked triphenylamines as stable hole transporting materials for high efficiency perovskite solar cells. Energy Environ. Sci. 8, 2946–2953 (2015).

  43. 43.

    Kong, J. et al. Long-term stable polymer solar cells with significantly reduced burn-in loss. Nat. Commun. 5, 6688 (2014).

  44. 44.

    Peters, C. H. et al. The mechanism of burn-in loss in a high efficiency polymer solar cell. Adv. Mater. 24, 663–668 (2012).

  45. 45.

    Tan, H. et al. Efficient and stable solution-processed planar perovskite solar cells via contact passivation. Science 355, 722–726 (2017).

  46. 46.

    Law, C. et al. Performance and stability of lead perovskite/TiO2, polymer/PCBM, and dye sensitized solar cells at light intensities up to 70 suns. Adv. Mater. 26, 6268–6273 (2014).

  47. 47.

    Mei, A. et al. A hole-conductor-free, fully printable mesoscopic perovskite solar cell with high stability. Science 345, 295–298 (2014).

  48. 48.

    Grancini, G. et al. One-year stable perovskite solar cells by 2D/3D interface engineering. Nat. Commun. 8, 15684 (2017).

  49. 49.

    Dualeh, A., Gao, P., Seok, S. I., Nazeeruddin, M. K. & Grätzel, M. Thermal behavior of methylammonium lead-trihalide perovskite photovoltaic light harvesters. Chem. Mater. 26, 6160–6164 (2014).

  50. 50.

    Akbulatov, A. F. et al. Probing the intrinsic thermal and photochemical stability of hybrid and inorganic lead halide perovskites. J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 8, 1211–1218 (2017).

Download references


We thank B. Le Geyt, S. Sujito, C. Clement and A. Fattet for their help in building the ageing set-up used to collect the data presented here. We also thank T. Matsui, M. Yavari and M. Saliba for providing devices used in a pilot study. K.D. thanks the SNF for funding within the framework of the Umbrella project (grant agreement no. 407040–153952 and 407040–153990). E.A.A., W.T. and M.G. acknowledge King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) for financial support under a joint research project. W.T. thanks the Swiss National Science Foundation for funding through an Ambizione fellowship.

Author information


  1. Laboratory for Photonics and Interfaces, Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland

    • Konrad Domanski
    • , Essa A. Alharbi
    • , Michael Grätzel
    •  & Wolfgang Tress
  2. Laboratory of Photomolecular Science, Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland

    • Anders Hagfeldt
    •  & Wolfgang Tress


  1. Search for Konrad Domanski in:

  2. Search for Essa A. Alharbi in:

  3. Search for Anders Hagfeldt in:

  4. Search for Michael Grätzel in:

  5. Search for Wolfgang Tress in:


W.T. and K.D. conceived the study, which was then supervised by W.T. K.D. performed the stability measurements and analysed the data. The devices were prepared by E.A.A. The stability measurement set-up was designed and developed by K.D., W.T. and A.H. K.D. and W.T. wrote the first draft of the manuscript. M.G. and A.H. contributed to fruitful discussions and supervision of the project. All authors contributed to the writing of the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Konrad Domanski or Wolfgang Tress.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Tables 1 and 2, Supplementary Figures 1–8, Supplementary Notes 1 and 2, and Supplementary References

About this article

Publication history





Further reading