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Morphology and Optoelectronic Variations Underlying the Nature of the Electron Transport Layer in Perovskite Solar Cells

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journal contribution
posted on 31.01.2018, 00:00 by Wendy J. Nimens, Jonathan Ogle, Anna Caruso, Mckenzie Jonely, Charles Simon, Detlef Smilgies, Rodrigo Noriega, Michael Scarpulla, Luisa Whittaker-Brooks
Perovskites based on methylammonium lead halides, CH3NH3PbX3 (X = Cl, Br, I), have emerged as one of the most promising materials in solar cell technology. Although the photovoltaics field has witnessed significant progress in the power conversion efficiency (PCE) of perovskite solar cells, unveiling the contribution of the various factors (i.e., energy level alignment, trap states, electron (hole) mobility, interface interactions, and morphology) affecting the observed PCEs is extremely crucial to achieve reproducible and stable devices. This work aims to understand charge transport and recombination within conventional perovskite solar cells due to modifications of the morphology, optoelectronic properties, and energy levels of the titania electron transport layer. Here, we utilize two different processing methods (i.e., solution and sputtering depositions) to yield three morphologically different titania electron transport layers (i.e., planar bulk TiO2, mesoporous TiOx, and sputtered TiO2). We find that the most important factors affecting the PCEs in perovskite solar cells are related to trap-assisted recombination and energy level alignment due to variations in the electron transport layer/perovskite interface. Similarly, we observe that morphologies of both the electron transport layer and the perovskite active layer play a minor role on the observed PCEs.