Extremely efficient internal exciton dissociation through edge states in layered 2D perovskites

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Science  24 Mar 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6331, pp. 1288-1292
DOI: 10.1126/science.aal4211

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How perovskites have the edge

Two-dimensional Ruddlesden-Popper perovskites form quantum wells by sandwiching inorganic-organic perovskite layers used in photovoltaic devices between organic layers. Blancon et al. show that if the perovskite layer is more than two unit cells thick, photogenerated excitons undergo an unusual but highly efficient process for creating free carriers that can be harvested in photovoltaic devices (see the Perspective by Bakr and Mohammed). Lower-energy local states at the edges of the perovskite layer facilitate dissociation into electrons and holes that are well protected from recombination.

Science, this issue p.1288; see also p. 1260


Understanding and controlling charge and energy flow in state-of-the-art semiconductor quantum wells has enabled high-efficiency optoelectronic devices. Two-dimensional (2D) Ruddlesden-Popper perovskites are solution-processed quantum wells wherein the band gap can be tuned by varying the perovskite-layer thickness, which modulates the effective electron-hole confinement. We report that, counterintuitive to classical quantum-confined systems where photogenerated electrons and holes are strongly bound by Coulomb interactions or excitons, the photophysics of thin films made of Ruddlesden-Popper perovskites with a thickness exceeding two perovskite-crystal units (>1.3 nanometers) is dominated by lower-energy states associated with the local intrinsic electronic structure of the edges of the perovskite layers. These states provide a direct pathway for dissociating excitons into longer-lived free carriers that substantially improve the performance of optoelectronic devices.

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