Unique Optical Properties of Methylammonium Lead Iodide Nanocrystals below the Bulk Tetragonal-Orthorhombic Phase Transition

Benjamin T. Diroll, Peijun Guo, Richard D. Schaller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Methylammonium (MA) and formamidinium (FA) lead halides are widely studied for their potential as low-cost, high-performance optoelectronic materials. Here, we present measurements of visible and IR absorption, steady state, and time-resolved photoluminescence from 300 K to cryogenic temperatures. Whereas FAPbI3 nanocrystals (NCs) are found to behave in a very similar manner to reported bulk behavior, colloidal nanocrystals of MAPbI3 show a departure from the low-temperature optical behavior of the bulk material. Using photoluminescence, visible, and infrared absorption measurements, we demonstrate that unlike single crystals and polycrystalline films NCs of MAPbI3 do not undergo optical changes associated with the bulk tetragonal-to-orthorhombic phase transition, which occurs near 160 K. We find no evidence of frozen organic cation rotation to as low as 80 K or altered exciton binding energy to as low as 3 K in MAPbI3 NCs. Similar results are obtained in MAPbI3 NCs ranging from 20 to over 100 nm and in morphologies including cubes and plates. Colloidal MAPbI3 NCs therefore offer a window into the properties of the solar-relevant, room-temperature phase of MAPbI3 at temperatures inaccessible with single crystals or polycrystalline samples. Exploiting this phenomenon, these measurements reveal the existence of an optically passive photoexcited state close to the band edge and persistent slow Auger recombination at low temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)846-852
Number of pages7
JournalNano letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 14 2018


  • Perovskites
  • exciton binding energy
  • lifetime
  • nanocrystals
  • phase transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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