Cation engineering on lead iodide perovskites for stable and high-performance photovoltaic applications

Jue Gong, Peijun Guo, Savannah E. Benjamin, P. Gregory Van Patten, Richard D. Schaller, Tao Xu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Perovskite solar cells (PSCs) based on methylammonium lead iodide (CH3NH3PbI3) have shown unprecedentedly outstanding performance in the recent years. Nevertheless, due to the weak interaction between polar CH3NH3+ (MA+) and inorganic PbI3 sublattices, CH3NH3PbI3 dramatically suffers from poor moisture stability, thermal decomposition and device hysteresis. As such, strong electrostatic interactions between cations and anionic frameworks are desired for synergistic improvements of the abovementioned issues. While replacements of I with Br and/or Cl evidently widen optical bandgaps of perovskite materials, compositional modifications can solely be applied on cation components in order to preserve the broad absorption of solar spectrum. Herein, we review the current successful practices in achieving efficient, stable and minimally hysteretic PSCs with lead iodide perovskite systems that employ photoactive cesium lead iodide (CsPbI3), formamidinium lead iodide (HC(NH2)2PbI3, or FAPbI3), MA1−xyzFAxCsyRbzPbI3 mixed-cation settings as well as two-dimensional butylammonium (C4H9NH3+, or BA+)/MA+, polymeric ammonium (PEI+)/MA+ co-cation layered structures. Fundamental aspects behind the stabilization of perovskite phases α-CsPbI3, α-FAPbI3, mixed-cation MA1xyzFAxCsyRbzPbI3 and crystallographic alignment of (BA)2(MA)3Pb4I13 for effective light absorption and charge transport will be discussed. This review will contribute to the continuous development of photovoltaic technology based on PSCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1017-1039
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Energy Chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • Device hysteresis
  • Metastable phases
  • Optical bandgaps
  • Perovskite solar cells
  • Power conversion efficiency
  • Solar energy conversion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Electrochemistry


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