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Title: Synthesis, characterization and properties of hybrid organic-inorganic perovskites for photovaltaic applications
Author: Sun, Shijing
ISNI:       0000 0004 6424 0951
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2017
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The hybrid organic-inorganic perovskites (HOIPs), e.g. methylammonium and formamidinium lead halide (MA/FAPbX3, X = I, Br or Cl), are a class of materials that has recently achieved remarkable performances in photovoltaic applications. This thesis describes the synthesis, structure and properties of this class of perovskites, with particular focus on their crystal chemistry, mechanical responses and structural diversity. Understanding the unique crystal chemistry of HOIPs is crucial for device design. While MA-based perovskites have been widely studied, there are still many open questions on the crystal chemistry of FA-based perovskites. In this work, FAPbX3 (X= Br or I) was shown to undergo a cubic (Pm3 ̅m) to tetragonal (P4/mbm) transition on cooling. Studies on the high-pressure crystallography of FAPbI3 exhibited a similar trend and further illustrated band gap tuning via external stimuli. In addition, the cubic lattice of FAPbBr3 was found to be more strained than its MA counterpart. The observed intrinsic strain was modelled with anisotropic line broadening and < 100 > was found to be the least strained direction. To explore potential applications in flexible devices, crystals of single (Pb-based) and double (Bi-based) perovskites were probed by nanoindentation and their mechanical properties, such as Young’s moduli (E) (10 – 20 GPa) and hardnesses (H) (0.2 -0.5 GPa), were determined. The mechanical responses of MA- and FA-based hybrid perovskites correlated well with the chemical and structural variations in these analogues, showing a general trend of ECl > EBr > EI and EPb > EBi. By analogy with classical inorganic perovskites, the hybrid phases can crystallise in both three-dimensional (3D) and low dimensional perovskite-like forms. To improve the stability and remove the toxicity in the current prototypical hybrid perovskites, compositional engineering was applied, focusing on non-toxic bismuth (Bi) as a viable alternative to lead (Pb) in future photovoltaic materials. We report a new layered perovskite, (NH4)3Bi2I9, which exhibits a band gap of 2.0 eV, comparable to MAPbBr3 and FAPbBr3. This work contributes to the materials design goal of more stable and eco-friendly perovskite devices.
Supervisor: Cheetham, Anthony Sponsor: American Chemistry Society ; Royal Society of Chemistry ; APL Materials
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: hybird perovskites ; crystallography ; nanoindentation ; photovaltaics