A team of researchers from HZB, CNRS and Charles University used a multi-method approach to quantify and characterize defects in single crystal MAPbI3, giving a cross-checked overview of their properties. The team characterized five different defect types and measured the interaction between these defects and the charge carriers.

MAPI semiconductors consist of organic methylammonium cations and lead iodide octahedra that form a perovskite structure. MAPI based solar cells have achieved efficiencies of 25% within a few years. But so far, the semi-organic semiconductors are still ageing rapidly.

Using a combination of highly sensitive spectroscopy methods, they succeeded in experimentally determining the concentration, energy, capture cross-section and charge capture time of the different defects and creating a map of the defects. By using electric pulses, they made sure that the measurements did not affect the quality of the material.

The measurement results allow the reliable differentiation between electron and hole transport and the determination of their most important parameters: Mobilities, lifetimes and diffusion lengths. "This work thus provides answers to questions that have been discussed for a long time in the field of perovskite solar cells," says team leader Dr. Artem Musiienko.

The team also presented an important finding: a large proportion of the defects release the captured charge carriers again after a short time. "This may partly explain these particularly high efficiencies of the MAPI perovskites," says Musiienko. These results pave the way to optimizing MAPI perovskites in terms of defect concentration, combining high efficiencies with good stability.