How transport layer properties affect perovskite solar cell performance: Insights from a coupled charge transport/ion migration model

Nicola E. Courtier, James M. Cave, Jamie M. Foster, Alison B. Walker, Giles Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Citations (SciVal)


The effects of transport layers on perovskite solar cell performance, in particular anomalous hysteresis, are investigated. A model for coupled ion vacancy motion and charge transport is formulated and solved in a three-layer planar perovskite solar cell. Its results are used to demonstrate that the replacement of standard transport layer materials (spiro-OMeTAD and TiO2) by materials with lower permittivity and/or doping leads to a shift in the scan rates at which hysteresis is most pronounced to rates higher than those commonly used in experiment. These results provide a cogent explanation for why organic electron transport layers can yield seemingly "hysteresis-free" devices but which nevertheless exhibit hysteresis at low temperature. In these devices the decrease in ion vacancy mobility with temperature compensates for the increase in hysteresis rate with use of low permittivity/doping organic transport layers. Simulations are used to classify features of the current-voltage curves that distinguish between cells in which charge carrier recombination occurs predominantly at the transport layer interfaces and those where it occurs predominantly within the perovskite. These characteristics are supplemented by videos showing how the electric potential, electronic and ionic charge profiles evolve across a planar perovskite solar cell during a current-voltage scan. Design protocols to mitigate the possible effects of high ion vacancy distributions on cell degradation are discussed. Finally, features of the steady-state potential profile for a device held near the maximum power point are used to suggest ways in which interfacial recombination can be reduced, and performance enhanced, via tuning transport layer properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-409
Number of pages14
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Issue number1
Early online date21 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Pollution


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