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Design Strategy for Improving Optical and Electrical Properties and Stability of Lead-Halide Semiconductors

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posted on 09.02.2018, 00:00 by Cai Sun, Gang Xu, Xiao-Ming Jiang, Guan-E Wang, Pei-Yu Guo, Ming-Sheng Wang, Guo-Cong Guo
Broad absorption, long-lived photogenerated carriers, high conductance, and high stability are all required for a light absorber toward its real application on solar cells. Inorganic–organic hybrid lead-halide materials have shown tremendous potential for applications in solar cells. This work offers a new design strategy to improve the absorption range, conductance, photoconductance, and stability of these materials. We synthesized a new photochromic lead-chloride semiconductor by incorporating a photoactive viologen zwitterion into a lead-chloride system in the coordinating mode. This semiconductor has a novel inorganic–organic hybrid structure, where 1-D semiconducting inorganic lead-chloride nanoribbons covalently bond to 1-D semiconducting organic π-aggregates. It shows high stability against light, heat, and moisture. After photoinduced electron transfer (PIET), it yields a long-lived charge-separated state with a broad absorption band covering the 200–900 nm region while increasing its conductance and photoconductance. This work is the first to modify the photoconductance of semiconductors by PIET. The observed increasing times of conductivity reached 3 orders of magnitude, which represents a record for photoswitchable semiconductors. The increasing photocurrent comes mainly from the semiconducting organic π-aggregates, which indicates a chance to improve the photocurrent by modifying the organic component. These findings contribute to the exploration of light absorbers for solar cells.