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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.

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

Data availability

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


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

Author information




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.

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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.

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

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Supplementary Figs. 1–13.

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

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