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PREMIER CAT - Observing Crystallographic Stability of Metal Halide Perovskite Solar Cells using Advanced In-Situ Microscopy

EMSL Project ID


Perovskite based solar technologies are generating a great deal of interest in the materials community. In this work, we plan to utilize in-situ based electron-microscopy to characterize new synthesis routines and processes to generate sustainable and reliable perovskite-based materials whose properties are significantly better than the current state of the art. In particular, we would like to utilize the latest advances in high-resolution analytical and in-situ microscopy to characterize these emerging photovoltaics and their interfaces, defects, and discrete paths to crystallization.
There are longstanding interests in the relation between growth, microstructure, defects, electronic structure, and electro-optical activity of perovskite based solar cells for two reasons. The first reason is studies suggest there is great deal of variability in the growth of these materials. The fundamental origins however remain nascent due to the current novelty of these materials and the complexities associated with studying beam-sensitive materials. Furthermore, beyond static conditions, observing transient behavior associated with the growth of these materials at the micron to sub-nanometer scale is of increasing first interest to set future research directions and ideally suited for no other technique, but high resolution transmission electron microscopy. The second reason is reporting on the microstructure and possibly the presence of preferential growth defects and doping is highly relevant to the future resource utilization of developing both sustainable and efficient perovskite-based solar technology.
In this planned work we would like to pursue the analytical in-situ S/TEM capabilities at the EMSL to report on the correlations between our current ongoing observations and in-operando measurements of the optical properties, microstructure, defects, and crystallization associated with perovskite-based solar cells. The guided use of the latest high-resolution state-of-the-art in-situ (scanning) transmission electron microscopy (S/TEM) techniques to examine growth, crystallization, and material stability of this exciting class of materials is the main focus of this user-proposal.

Project Details

Project type
Limited Scope
Start Date
End Date


Principal Investigator

Mowafak Al-jassim
National Renewable Energy Laboratory


Kai Zhu
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Team Members

Andrew Norman
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Terry Holesinger
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Sarah Wozny
University of New Orleans

Jeffery Aguiar
Idaho National Laboratory

Related Publications

Aguiar JA, S Wozny, NR Alkurd, M Yang, L Kovarik, T Holesinger, MM Al-Jassim, K Zhu, W Zhou, and JJ Berry. 2016. "Effect of Water Vapor, Temperature, and Rapid Annealing on Formamidinium Lead Triiodide Perovskite Crystallization." ACS Energy Letters 1(1):155-161. doi:10.1021/acsenergylett.6b00042