Tin and germanium based two-dimensional Ruddlesden-Popper hybrid perovskites for potential lead-free photovoltaic and photoelectronic applications

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11314-11319
Journal / PublicationNanoscale
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


Despite their high power conversion efficiency, the commercial applications of hybrid organic-inorganic lead (Pb) halide perovskite based solar cells are still hampered by concerns about the toxicity of Pb and the structural stability in open air. Herein, based on density-functional theory computation, we show that lead-free tin (Sn) and germanium (Ge) based two-dimensional (2D) Ruddlesden-Popper hybrid organic-inorganic perovskites with a thickness of a few unit-cells, BA2MAn-1MnI3n+1 (M = Sn or Ge, n = 2-4), possess desirable electronic, excitonic and light absorption properties, thereby showing promise for photovoltaic and/or photoelectronic applications. In particular, we show that by increasing the layer thickness of the Sn-based 2D perovskites, the bandgap can be lowered towards the optimal range (0.9-1.6 eV) for solar cells. Meanwhile, the exciton binding energy is reduced to a more optimal value. In addition, theoretical assessment indicates that the thermodynamic stability of Sn-/Ge-based 2D perovskites is notably enhanced compared to that of their 3D analogues. These features render the Sn-/Ge-based 2D hybrid perovskites with a thickness of a few tens of unit cells promising lead-free perovskites with much improved structural stabilities for photovoltaic and/or photoelectronic applications.

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