Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Lattice anchoring stabilizes solution-processed semiconductors


The stability of solution-processed semiconductors remains an important area for improvement on their path to wider deployment. Inorganic caesium lead halide perovskites have a bandgap well suited to tandem solar cells1 but suffer from an undesired phase transition near room temperature2. Colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) are structurally robust materials prized for their size-tunable bandgap3; however, they also require further advances in stability because they are prone to aggregation and surface oxidization at high temperatures as a consequence of incomplete surface passivation4,5. Here we report ‘lattice-anchored’ hybrid materials that combine caesium lead halide perovskites with lead chalcogenide CQDs, in which lattice matching between the two materials contributes to a stability exceeding that of the constituents. We find that CQDs keep the perovskite in its desired cubic phase, suppressing the transition to the undesired lattice-mismatched phases. The stability of the CQD-anchored perovskite in air is enhanced by an order of magnitude compared with pristine perovskite, and the material remains stable for more than six months at ambient conditions (25 degrees Celsius and about 30 per cent humidity) and more than five hours at 200 degrees Celsius. The perovskite prevents oxidation of the CQD surfaces and reduces the agglomeration of the nanoparticles at 100 degrees Celsius by a factor of five compared with CQD controls. The matrix-protected CQDs show a photoluminescence quantum efficiency of 30 per cent for a CQD solid emitting at infrared wavelengths. The lattice-anchored CQD:perovskite solid exhibits a doubling in charge carrier mobility as a result of a reduced energy barrier for carrier hopping compared with the pure CQD solid. These benefits have potential uses in solution-processed optoelectronic devices.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: Epitaxial alignment between caesium lead halide perovskite and CQDs.
Fig. 2: Stability of CQD-anchored caesium lead halide perovskites.
Fig. 3: Changes in CQD packing density and uniformity at elevated temperatures.
Fig. 4: Carrier transfer and energetics within lattice-anchored CQD-in-perovskite hybrid solids.

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding authors on reasonable request.


  1. Beal, R. E. et al. Cesium lead halide perovskites with improved stability for tandem solar cells. J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 7, 746–751 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Wang, Q. et al. Stabilizing the α-phase of CsPbI3 perovskite by sulfobetaine zwitterions in one-step spin-coating films. Joule 1, 371–382 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Liu, M. et al. Hybrid organic–inorganic inks flatten the energy landscape in colloidal quantum dot solids. Nat. Mater. 16, 258–263 (2017).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  4. Zhou, J., Liu, Y., Tang, J. & Tang, W. Surface ligands engineering of semiconductor quantum dots for chemosensory and biological applications. Mater. Today 20, 360–376 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Keitel, R. C., Weidman, M. C. & Tisdale, W. A. Near-infrared photoluminescence and thermal stability of PbS nanocrystals at elevated temperatures. J. Phys. Chem. C 120, 20341–20349 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Mitzi, D. B. Solution-processed inorganic semiconductors. J. Mater. Chem. 14, 2355–2365 (2004).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. García de Arquer, F. P. G., Armin, A., Meredith, P. & Sargent, E. H. Solution-processed semiconductors for next-generation photodetectors. Nat. Rev. Mater. 2, 16100 (2017), corrigendum 2, 17012 (2017).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  8. Tan, Z.-K. et al. Bright light-emitting diodes based on organometal halide perovskite. Nat. Nanotechnol. 9, 687–692 (2014).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  9. Shirasaki, Y., Supran, G. J., Bawendi, M. G. & Bulović, V. Emergence of colloidal quantum-dot light-emitting technologies. Nat. Photon. 7, 13–23 (2013).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  10. Xu, J. et al. 2D matrix engineering for homogeneous quantum dot coupling in photovoltaic solids. Nat. Nanotechnol. 13, 456–462 (2018).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  11. Chuang, C.-H. M., Brown, P. R., Bulović, V. & Bawendi, M. G. Improved performance and stability in quantum dot solar cells through band alignment engineering. Nat. Mater. 13, 796–801 (2014).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  12. Christians, J. A. et al. Tailored interfaces of unencapsulated perovskite solar cells for >1,000 hour operational stability. Nat. Energy 3, 68–74 (2018).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  13. Katan, C., Mohite, A. D. & Even, J. Entropy in halide perovskites. Nat. Mater. 17, 377–379 (2018).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  14. Yang, W. S. et al. High-performance photovoltaic perovskite layers fabricated through intramolecular exchange. Science 348, 1234–1237 (2015).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  15. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Photovoltaic research

  16. Ju, M.-G. et al. Toward eco-friendly and stable perovskite materials for photovoltaics. Joule 2, 1231–1241 (2018).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Eperon, G. E. & Ginger, D. S. B-site metal cation exchange in halide perovskites. ACS Energy Lett. 2, 1190–1196 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Li, B. et al. Surface passivation engineering strategy to fully-inorganic cubic CsPbI3 perovskites for high-performance solar cells. Nat. Commun. 9, 1076 (2018).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  19. Jeong, B. et al. All-inorganic CsPbI3 perovskite phase-stabilized by poly(ethylene oxide) for red-light-emitting diodes. Adv. Funct. Mater. 28, 1706401 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Xiang, S. et al. The synergistic effect of non-stoichiometry and Sb-doping on air-stable α-CsPbI3 for efficient carbon-based perovskite solar cells. Nanoscale 10, 9996–10004 (2018).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Yang, D., Li, X. & Zeng, H. Surface chemistry of all inorganic halide perovskite nanocrystals: passivation mechanism and stability. Adv. Mater. Interfaces 5, 1701662 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Ihly, R., Tolentino, J., Liu, Y., Gibbs, M. & Law, M. The photothermal stability of PbS quantum dot solids. ACS Nano 5, 8175–8186 (2011).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. Zhang, X. et al. Inorganic CsPbI3 perovskite coating on PbS quantum dot for highly efficient and stable infrared light converting solar cells. Adv. Energy Mater. 8, 1702049 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Ning, Z. et al. Quantum-dot-in-perovskite solids. Nature 523, 324–328 (2015).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  25. Zhao, D., Huang, J., Qin, R., Yang, G. & Yu, J. Efficient visible–near-infrared hybrid perovskite:PbS quantum dot photodetectors fabricated using an antisolvent additive solution process. Adv. Opt. Mater. 6, 1800979 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Yang, Z. et al. Colloidal quantum dot photovoltaics enhanced by perovskite shelling. Nano Lett. 15, 7539–7543 (2015).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  27. Dalven, R. Electronic structure of PbS, PbSe, and PbTe. Solid State Phys. 28, 179–224 (1974).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Pinardi, K. et al. Critical thickness and strain relaxation in lattice mismatched II–VI semiconductor layers. J. Appl. Phys. 83, 4724–4733 (1998).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  29. People, R. & Bean, J. C. Calculation of critical layer thickness versus lattice mismatch for GexSi1−x/Si strained-layer heterostructures. Appl. Phys. Lett. 47, 322–324 (1985).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  30. Scott, G. D. & Kilgour, D. M. The density of random close packing of spheres. J. Phys. D 2, 863–866 (1969).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  31. Ning, Z. et al. Air-stable n-type colloidal quantum dot solids. Nat. Mater. 13, 822–828 (2014).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  32. de Mello, J. C., Wittmann, H. F. & Friend, R. H. An improved experimental determination of external photoluminescence quantum efficiency. Adv. Mater. 9, 230–232 (1997).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Proppe, A. H. et al. Picosecond charge transfer and long carrier diffusion lengths in colloidal quantum dot solids. Nano Lett. 18, 7052–7059 (2018).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  34. Gilmore, R. H., Lee, E. M. Y., Weidman, M. C., Willard, A. P. & Tisdale, W. A. Charge carrier hopping dynamics in homogeneously broadened PbS quantum dot solids. Nano Lett. 17, 893–901 (2017).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  35. Zhitomirsky, D., Voznyy, O., Hoogland, S. & Sargent, E. H. Measuring charge carrier diffusion in coupled colloidal quantum dot solids. ACS Nano 7, 5282–5290 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


This publication is based in part on work supported by an award (OSR-2017-CPF-3321-03) from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), by the Ontario Research Fund Research Excellence Program, by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada and by the Compute Canada ( This research used resources of the Advanced Photon Source, a US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility operated by Argonne National Laboratory under contract number DE-AC02-06CH11357, and resources of the Advanced Light Source, a DOE Office of Science User Facility under contract number DE-AC02-05CH11231. M. Liu acknowledges financial support from the Hatch Graduate Scholarship for Sustainable Energy Research. The authors thank H. Du, J. Zhang, X. Ma and C. Zou from the Tianjin University for XRD and SEM-EDX measurements. We thank E. Palmiano, L. Levina, R. Wolowiec, D. Kopilovic, M. Wei, J. Choi and Z. Huang from the University of Toronto for their help during the course of study.

Reviewer information

Nature thanks Zheng Chen and the other anonymous reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



M.L. conceived the study and developed the hybrid materials system, fabricated solar cell devices and performed synchrotron X-ray diffraction measurements and materials stability tests. Y.C., B. Sun and B. Scheffel assisted in the fabrication of quantum dot in matrix samples. C.-S.T. performed TEM imaging. R.Q.-B. contributed to XPS measurements. A.H.P. carried out transient absorption measurements. R.M. and A.A. carried out in situ GISAXS measurements. H.T. contributed to GIWAXS measurements. G.W. contributed to photoluminescence measurements. A.P.T.K. carried out the mobility measurements. M.-J.C. performed SEM imaging and EDX analysis. O.V., F.P.G.A., S.O.K. and E.H.S. supervised the project. All authors discussed the results and assisted in the preparation of the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Edward H. Sargent.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

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

Extended data figures and tables

Extended Data Fig. 1 Morphology of CQD:perovskite hybrid films.

a, Photographs of as-prepared CsPbBr2I films with 0, 10 and 20 vol% of CQDs (from left to right). b, Photographs of as-prepared CsPbBrI2 films with 0, 10 and 20 vol% of CQDs (from left to right). cf, SEM images of the pure CsPbBr2I film (c) and CQD:CsPbBr2I hybrid films with 10 vol% (d), 20 vol% (e) and 33 vol% (f) CQD. At low CQD loading (10 vol%), no significant changes were observed in grain size. This argues against a main role for grain size on stability. When CQD loading is higher than 20 vol%, a smaller grain size is observed, which is consistent with the XRD peak broadening shown in Fig. 1c.

Extended Data Fig. 2 EDX mapping and elemental analysis of CQD:CsPbBr2I hybrid films.

a–c, EDX mapping of CsPbBr2I films with 10 vol% (a), 20 vol% (b) and 33 vol% (c) CQDs. df, Elemental analysis of films in ac, respectively. An aluminium specimen holder was used for the measurement, resulting in a strong Al signal in the EDX analysis. The energy peak of Al (1.486 keV) overlaps with Br (1.480 keV) in the EDX spectra. To avoid sample damage, an accelerating voltage of 10 keV was used, which is unable to detect the signal from Br (11.922 keV). As a result, we cannot ascertain the elemental ratio of Br in the film. The values from the experiments and calculations are presented in the inset tables. The elemental ratios are normalized to Pb.

Extended Data Fig. 3 X-ray diffraction of the CQD:CsPbBr2I films.

a, Two-dimensional GIWAXS patterns of CQD:CsPbBr2I films. b, Azimuthal integrated line profile along the qz axis.

Extended Data Fig. 4 Morphological and structural characterization of CQD:perovskite hybrid structures.

a, b, HRTEM (a) and fast Fourier transform (b) images of PbS quantum dots with a thin CsPbBrI2 perovskite shell. The shell has a lower contrast than the CQDs, as CsPbX3 has a lower density than PbS. c, d, Scanning TEM images and EELS elemental mapping of a CQD/CsPbBrI2 core–shell structure (c) and a CQD-in-CsPbBrI2-matrix structure (d).

Extended Data Fig. 5 Stability studies of lattice-anchored and control materials system.

a, Stability of the lattice-anchored perovskite with mixed halides. The film stability is improved from a couple of days to several months. For Br content higher than 33%, the perovskite film could be stabilized in room ambient conditions for more than 6 months without any degradation. b, Stability of the lattice-anchored α-phase CsPbI3. The fabrication of CsPbI3 films follows a reported method (ref. 2), which exhibits 1,000-h air stability for the pure perovskite matrix. CQDs further enhanced the stability to greater than 6 months, showing the compatibility of this strategy with previous methods. c, d, Thermal stability studies of methylammonium lead iodide (MAPbI3) films with and without CQDs, as a control material. Absorption spectra of pure MAPbI3 (c) and MAPbI3 with 10 vol% CQDs (d) before and after annealing in ambient air. The degradation of MAPbI3 perovskite arises from the volatility of organic components. The CQD:MAPbI3 film does not show any improvement in thermal stability compared with pure MAPbI3. The reduced and broadened excitonic peak of PbS shows an increase in CQD aggregation.

Extended Data Fig. 6 GISAXS 2D pattern of the matrix-protected CQD films and pristine films measured at room temperature.

a, Matrix-protected CQD film. b, Pristine film.

Extended Data Fig. 7 Photophysical studies of CQD-in-matrix hybrid films.

a, Absorption spectra of CsPbBrI2 film with and without CQDs embedded. b, PL quenching at perovskite emission range. When CQDs are embedded, the PL signal from perovskite is completely quenched, showing an efficient carrier transfer from the matrix to the CQDs. c, PL quantum yield of CQD-in-matrix films at different CQD ratios.

Extended Data Fig. 8 Mobility studies of matrix-protected CQD films and pristine CQDs from the dependence of the carrier lifetime on trap percentage.

a, c, Time traces at the exciton bleach peak of 960-nm-bandgap CQD donor films with a range of acceptor CQD concentrations, increasing from top (0%) to bottom (5%). bd, Data with fits after subtracting Auger dynamics from the pure donor film, with fitted values for lifetime and offset. A, absorption.

Extended Data Fig. 9 CQD solar cell devices.

a, Device architecture. b–d, Solar cell performance. Dark blue curves represent the matrix-infiltrated CQD samples, and the light blue curves represent the pure CQD samples. b, Current density versus voltage (J–V) curves. c, EQE. d, Stability test with continuous AM1.5G illumination unencapsulated. oc, open circuit; sc, short circuit; FF, fill factor; MPP, maximum power point.

Extended Data Table 1 Photophysical parameters of lattice-anchored hybrid material

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Liu, M., Chen, Y., Tan, CS. et al. Lattice anchoring stabilizes solution-processed semiconductors. Nature 570, 96–101 (2019).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing