Evolution of Chemical Composition, Morphology, and Photovoltaic Efficiency of CH 3 NH 3 PbI 3 Perovskite under Ambient Conditions

Weixin Huang, Joseph S. Manser, Prashant V. Kamat, Sylwia Ptasinska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Scopus citations


© 2015 American Chemical Society. The surface composition and morphology of CH3NH3PbI3 perovskite films stored for several days under ambient conditions were investigated by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and X-ray diffraction techniques. Chemical analysis revealed the loss of CH3NH3 + and I- species from CH3NH3PbI3 and its subsequent decomposition into lead carbonate, lead hydroxide, and lead oxide. After long-term storage under ambient conditions, morphological analysis revealed the transformation of randomly distributed defects and cracks, initially present in the densely packed crystalline structure, into relatively small grains. In contrast to PbI2 powder, CH3NH3PbI3 exhibited a different degradation trend under ambient conditions. Therefore, we propose a plausible CH3NH3PbI3 decomposition pathway that explains the changes in the chemical composition of CH3NH3PbI3 under ambient conditions. In addition, films stored under such conditions were incorporated into photovoltaic cells, and their performances were examined. The chemical changes in the decomposed films were found to cause a significant decrease in the photovoltaic efficiency of CH3NH3PbI3.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-311
Number of pages9
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 23 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OCRF-2014-CRG3-2268
Acknowledgements: This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences under Award Number DE2FC02204ER15533. This is contribution number NDRL 5076 from the Notre Dame Radiation Laboratory. The authors thank the cSEND Materials Characterization Facility for the use of the PHI VersaProbe II XPS and the use of the Bruker pXRD. Joseph Manser acknowledges the support of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) through the award OCRF-2014-CRG3-2268.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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