Structural Chemistry of Hybrid Halide Perovskites for Thin Film Photovoltaics

  • Oliver Weber

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Hybrid lead halide perovskites, AMX 3 compounds in which A = CH 3 NH 3 (MA), CH(NH 2 ) 2(FA), Cs; M = Pb,Sn; X = I, Br, Cl, display remarkable performance in solution-processed optoelectronic devices, including > 22% efficient thin film photovoltaic cells. These compounds represent the first class of materials discovered to exhibit properties associated with high performance compound semiconductors, while being formed at or near room temperature using simple solution chemistry techniques. This thesis is focused on the synthesis, structural characterisation and phase behaviour of MAPbI 3 , FAPbI 3 , A-site solid solutions and novel organic metal halide framework materials.The complete atomic structure and phase behaviour of methylammonium lead iodide is elucidated for the first time, including hydrogen positions, using high flux, constant wave-length neutron powder diffraction. At 100 K an orthorhombic phase, space group Pnma, is observed, with the methylammonium cations ordered as the C–N bond direction alternates in adjacent inorganic cages. Above 165 K a first order phase transition to tetragonal, I4/mcm, occurs with the unlocking of cation rotation, which is disordered primarily in the ab plane. Above 327 K a cubic phase, space group Pm3m, is formed, with the cations isotropically disordered on the timescale of the crystallographic experiment.The high temperature phase of formamidinium lead iodide, α-FAPbI 3 is shown for the first time to be cubic, (Pm3m), at room temperature using time-of-flight, high resolution neutron powder diffraction. Polymorphism and the low temperature phase behaviour of FAPbI 3 have been further investigated using reactor and spallation neutron sources with high resolution in temperature. A tetragonal phase, P4/mbm, is confirmed in the temperature range 140-285 K.The composition, structural and optical parameters of ’A’ site solid solutions (MA/FA)PbI 3 have been investigated by single crystal X-ray diffraction, UV-vis spectroscopy and 1 H solution NMR. A composition-dependent transition in the crystal class from tetragonal to cubic(or pseudo-cubic) at room temperature is identified and correlated to trends in the optical absorption. Novel hybrid materials with inorganic frameworks of varying dimensionality from 0D to 2D, including imidazolium lead iodide and piperazinium lead iodide, have been synthesised using various templating organic cations and their atomic structures solved by single crystal X-ray diffraction.
Date of Award29 May 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorMark Weller (Supervisor) & Chris Bowen (Supervisor)


  • Solar energy materials
  • Solar cell
  • Crystallography
  • Neutron diffraction

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