Changes in charge density vs changes in formal oxidation states: The case of Sn halide perovskites and their ordered vacancy analogues

Gustavo M. Dalpian, Qihang Liu, Constantinos C. Stoumpos, Alexios P. Douvalis, Mahalingam Balasubramanian, Mercouri G. Kanatzidis, Alex Zunger

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Shifting the Fermi energy in solids by doping, defect formation, or gating generally results in changes in the charge density distribution, which reflect the ability of the bonding pattern in solids to adjust to such external perturbations. In the traditional chemistry textbook, such changes are often described by the formal oxidation states (FOS) whereby a single atom type is presumed to absorb the full burden of the perturbation (change in charge) of the whole compound. In the present paper, we analyze the changes in the position-dependence charge density due to shifts of the Fermi energy on a general physical basis, comparing with the view of the FOS picture. We use the halide perovskites CsSnX3 (X=F, Cl, Br, I) as examples for studying the general principle. When the solar absorber CsSnI3 (termed 113) loses 50% of its Sn atoms, thereby forming the ordered vacancy compound Cs2SnI6 (termed 216), the Sn is said in the FOS picture to change from Sn(II) to Sn(IV). To understand the electronic properties of these two groups we studied the 113 and 216 compound pairs CsSnCl3 and Cs2SnCl6, CsSnBr3 and Cs2SnBr6, and CsSnI3 and Cs2SnI6, complementing them by CsSnF3 and Cs2SnF6 in the hypothetical cubic structure for completing the chemical trends. These materials were also synthesized by chemical routes and characterized by x-ray diffraction, Sn119-Mössbauer spectroscopy, and K-edge x-ray absorption spectroscopy. We find that indeed in going from 113 to 216 (equivalent to the introduction of two holes per unit) there is a decrease in the s charge on Sn, in agreement with the FOS picture. However, at the same time, we observe an increase of the p charge via downshift of the otherwise unoccupied p level, an effect that tends to replenish much of the lost s charge. At the end, the change in the charge on the Sn site as a result of adding two holes to the unit cell is rather small. This effect is theoretically explained as a "self-regulating response" [Raebiger, Lany, and Zunger, Nature (London) 453, 763 (2008)10.1038/nature07009] whereby the system rehybridizes to minimize the effect of the charge perturbation created by vacancy formation. Rather than having a single preselected atom (here Sn) absorb the full brunt of the perturbation producing two holes, we find that the holes are distributed in a complex pattern throughout the octahedral systems of X6 ligands, forming hole orbitals with some specific symmetries. This clarifies the relation between FOS and charge transfer that can be applied to a wide variety of materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number025401
JournalPhysical Review Materials
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 5 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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