Origin of Low Carrier Mobilities in Halide Perovskites

Halide perovskites constitute a new class of semiconductors that hold promise for low-cost solar cells and optoelectronics. One key property of these materials is the electron mobility, which determines the average electron speed due to a driving electric field. Here we elucidate the atomic-scale mechanisms and theoretical limits of carrier mobilities in halide perovskites by performing a comparative analysis of the archetypal compound CH3NH3PbI3, its inorganic counterpart CsPbI3, and a classic semiconductor for light-emitting diodes, wurtzite GaN, using cutting-edge many-body ab initio calculations. We demonstrate that low-energy longitudinal-optical phonons associated with fluctuations of the Pb–I bonds ultimately limit the mobility to 80 cm2/(V s) at room temperature. By extending our analysis to a broad class of compounds, we identify a universal scaling law for the carrier mobility in halide perovskites, and we establish the design principles to realize high-mobility materials.