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Improved photovoltaic performance from inorganic perovskite oxide thin films with mixed crystal phases


Inorganic ferroelectric perovskites are attracting attention for the realization of highly stable photovoltaic cells with large open-circuit voltages. However, the power conversion efficiencies of devices have been limited so far. Here, we report a power conversion efficiency of ~4.20% under 1 sun illumination from Bi–Mn–O composite thin films with mixed BiMnO3 and BiMn2O5 crystal phases. We show that the photocurrent density and photovoltage mainly develop across grain boundaries and interfaces rather than within the grains. We also experimentally demonstrate that the open-circuit voltage and short-circuit photocurrent measured in the films are tunable by varying the electrical resistance of the device, which in turn is controlled by externally applying voltage pulses. The exploitation of multifunctional properties of composite oxides provides an alternative route towards achieving highly stable, high-efficiency photovoltaic solar energy conversion.

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The authors acknowledge infrastructure support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation. F.R. and R.N. are also supported by individual NSERC Discovery Grants. F.R. is grateful to the Canada Research Chairs programme for funding and partial salary support. F.R. acknowledges a Chang Jiang short-term chair professorship from the Government of China and Sichuan province for a short-term 1000 talent award. The authors acknowledge M. Moretti for assistance in performing C-AFM measurements.

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J.C. conceived the ideas, designed the materials and device optimization strategy, carried out PLD growth, and fabricated the devices. J.C. and R.N characterized the PV properties, and performed the ellipsometry and EQE measurements. M.C. performed the TEM experiments that were further analysed by J.C., M.C. and R.N. J.C. and C.H. conducted and interpreted the PFM and KPFM experiments. J.C. and R.N. analysed the data of C-AFM experiments. J.C. performed the PV degradation experiments. C.H. elaborated the idea of the PV degradation mechanism. J.C., C.H., F.R. and R.N. contributed to the data analysis and discussions. All authors co-wrote the manuscript. F.R. and R.N. supervised the work.

Correspondence to Federico Rosei or Riad Nechache.

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Fig. 1: Mixed crystal phases and PV performance.
Fig. 2: EQE and optical absorption spectra.
Fig. 3: Surface photocurrent measurements by C-AFM performed on as-grown samples.
Fig. 4: Surface potential measured by KPFM performed on as-grown samples.
Fig. 5: Tunable photovoltages and photocurrents.