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.

  • Article
  • Published:

Preventing lead leakage with built-in resin layers for sustainable perovskite solar cells


Lead leakage from damaged perovskite solar modules during rainfall poses a serious threat to the environment and human health. Strategies to replace lead have seen little success to date, while the encapsulation approaches tend to compromise the low-cost advantage of perovskites. Coating lead-adsorbing layers on glass surfaces may help to reduce the risk; however, these layers are vulnerable to either saturation or contamination by rain or dust. Here we report a new device structure that incorporates a low-cost mesoporous sulfonic acid-based lead-adsorbing resin into perovskites as a scaffold, which immobilizes lead ions inside the scaffold even if perovskites are exposed to rainwater. Introducing the insulating scaffold not only does not decrease the device efficiency, but also can be scaled up to large-area modules (60.8 cm2) with an aperture efficiency of 16.3%. This structure proves more effective in preventing lead leakage than the configuration with the coating on the glass surface and is able to reduce the lead contamination of rainwater from damaged perovskite modules to 11.9 parts per billion. This solution addresses the toxicity concern of lead-based perovskites for solar cells and other applications and represents an important step towards sustainability.

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

Access options

Buy this article

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

Fig. 1: Mesoporous Pb-adsorbing resin-scaffolded perovskites.
Fig. 2: Photovoltaic performance of the PSCs.
Fig. 3: Pb leakage tests.

Similar content being viewed by others

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon request.


  1. National Renewable Energy Laboratory Best Research-Cell Efficiency Chart (NREL, accessed March 2021);

  2. Bai, S. et al. Planar perovskite solar cells with long-term stability using ionic liquid additives. Nature 571, 245–250 (2019).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Zheng, X. et al. Managing grains and interfaces via ligand anchoring enables 22.3%-efficiency inverted perovskite solar cells. Nat. Energy 5, 131–140 (2020).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Wang, L. et al. A Eu3+-Eu2+ ion redox shuttle imparts operational durability to Pb-I perovskite solar cells. Science 363, 265–270 (2019).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Yang, S. et al. Stabilizing halide perovskite surfaces for solar cell operation with wide-bandgap lead oxysalts. Science 365, 473–478 (2019).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Extance, A. The reality behind solar power’s next star material. Nature 570, 429–432 (2019).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Cheacharoen, R. et al. Encapsulating perovskite solar cells to withstand damp heat and thermal cycling. Sustain. Energy Fuels 2, 2398–2406 (2018).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Shi, L. et al. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analyses of encapsulated stable perovskite solar cells. Science 368, eaba2412 (2020).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Deng, Y. et al. Tailoring solvent coordination for high-speed, room-temperature blading of perovskite photovoltaic films. Sci. Adv. 5, eaax7537 (2019).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Deng, Y. et al. Surfactant-controlled ink drying enables high-speed deposition of perovskite films for efficient photovoltaic modules. Nat. Energy 3, 560–566 (2018).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Rong, Y. et al. Challenges for commercializing perovskite solar cells. Science 361, eaat8235 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Rajagopal, A., Yao, K. & Jen, A. K.-Y. Toward perovskite solar cell commercialization: a perspective and research roadmap based on interfacial engineering. Adv. Mater. 30, 1800455 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Ke, W. & Kanatzidis, M. G. Prospects for low-toxicity lead-free perovskite solar cells. Nat. Commun. 10, 965 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Kamat, P. V., Bisquert, J. & Buriak, J. Lead-free perovskite solar cells. ACS Energy Lett. 2, 904–905 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Wang, Y. et al. Stabilizing heterostructures of soft perovskite semiconductors. Science 365, 687–691 (2019).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Min, H. et al. Efficient, stable solar cells by using inherent bandgap of α-phase formamidinium lead iodide. Science 366, 749–753 (2019).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Wang, R. et al. Constructive molecular configurations for surface-defect passivation of perovskite photovoltaics. Science 366, 1509–1513 (2019).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. Jiang, Y. et al. Reduction of lead leakage from damaged lead halide perovskite solar modules using self-healing polymer-based encapsulation. Nat. Energy 4, 585–593 (2019).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Song, Z. et al. A technoeconomic analysis of perovskite solar module manufacturing with low-cost materials and techniques. Energy Environ. Sci. 10, 1297–1305 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Huckaba, A. J. et al. Lead sequestration from perovskite solar cells using a metal–organic framework polymer composite. Energy Technol. 8, 2000239 (2020).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Lee, J., Kim, G. W., Kim, M., Park, S. A. & Park, T. Nonaromatic green-solvent-processable, dopant-free, and lead-capturable hole transport polymers in perovskite solar cells with high efficiency. Adv. Energy Mater. 10, 1902662 (2020).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. Li, X. et al. On-device lead sequestration for perovskite solar cells. Nature 578, 555–558 (2020).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. Visockis, E., Deksne, R., Teirumnieka, E. & Kobakhidze, M. Research of rain water using possibilities. In Proc. 9th International Scientific Conference: Engineering for Rural Development 123–127 (2010).

  25. Keresztesi, Á., Nita, I.-A., Birsan, M.-V., Bodor, Z. & Szép, R. The risk of cross-border pollution and the influence of regional climate on the rainwater chemistry in the Southern Carpathians, Romania. Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. 27, 9382–9402 (2020).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. Chen, S. et al. Trapping lead in perovskite solar modules with abundant and low-cost cation exchange resins. Nat. Energy 5, 1003–1011 (2020).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Bi, C., Zheng, X., Chen, B., Wei, H. & Huang, J. Spontaneous passivation of hybrid perovskite by sodium ions from glass substrates: mysterious enhancement of device efficiency revealed. ACS Energy Lett. 2, 1400–1406 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. Determining Resistance of Photovoltaic Modules to Hail by Impact with Propelled Ice Balls, ASTM E1038-10 (ASTM International, 2019);

Download references


This work is financially supported by University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



J.H. conceived the idea. S.C. fabricated both perovskite solar cells and mini-modules and conducted lead leakage tests. Y.D. assisted the fabrication of perovskite mini-modules. X.X. performed TPV and TRPL measurements. S.X. carried out trap density measurement. P.N.R. participated in the discussions of the results. J.H. and S.C. wrote the paper. All authors reviewed the paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jinsong Huang.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

J.H. and S.C. are inventors of an invention disclosure covering this work filed by University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. The other authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Peer review information Nature Sustainability thanks the anonymous reviewers for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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

Supplementary information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Chen, S., Deng, Y., Xiao, X. et al. Preventing lead leakage with built-in resin layers for sustainable perovskite solar cells. Nat Sustain 4, 636–643 (2021).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


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