Ferroic Domains of Alternating Polar and Nonpolar Orders Regulate Photocurrent in Single Crystalline CH3NH3PbI3 Films Self-grown on FTO/TiO2 Substrate.
Photovoltaic conversion efficiency (PCE) of halide perovskite solar cells has risen spectacularly, yet the very crystalline structure of CH3NH3PbI3 remains ambiguous after extensive researches, and its polar nature remains hotly debated. Here we present compelling evidences that CH3NH3PbI3 crystals self-grown on FTO/TiO2 substrate consist of ferroic domains with alternating polar and nonpolar orders, in contrast to previous experimental and theoretical expectations, and polar domains possess reduced photocurrent. It is found that polar and nonpolar orders of CH3NH3PbI3 can be distinguished from their distinct lateral piezoresponse, energy dissipation, first and second harmonic electromechanical couplings, and temperature variation, even though their difference in crystalline lattice is very subtle, and they possess two-way memory effect through cubic-tetragonal phase transition. These findings resolve key questions regarding polar nature of CH3NH3PbI3 and its implication on photovoltaics, reconcile contradictory data widely reported, and point a direction toward engineering ferroic domains for enhanced PCE.
Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1801.08305
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