Insights into fullerene passivation of SnO2 electron transport layers in perovskite solar cells

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Interfaces between the photoactive and charge transport layers are crucial for the performance of perovskite solar cells. Surface passivation of SnO2 as electron transport layer (ETL) by fullerene derivatives is known to improve the performance of n–i–p devices, yet organic passivation layers are susceptible to removal during perovskite deposition. Understanding the nature of the passivation is important for further optimization of SnO2 ETLs. X‐ray photoelectron spectroscopy depth profiling is a convenient tool to monitor the fullerene concentration in passivation layers at a SnO2 interface. Through a comparative study using [6,6]‐phenyl‐C61‐butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) and [6,6]‐phenyl‐C61‐butyric acid (PCBA) passivation layers, a direct correlation is established between the formation of interfacial chemical bonds and the retention of passivating fullerene molecules at the SnO2 interface that effectively reduces the number of defects and enhances electron mobility. Devices with only a PCBA‐monolayer‐passivated SnO2 ETL exhibit significantly improved performance and reproducibility, achieving an efficiency of 18.8%. Investigating thick and solvent‐resistant C60 and PCBM‐dimer layers demonstrates that the charge transport in the ETL is only improved by chemisorption of the fullerene at the SnO2 surface.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1905883
Number of pages12
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number46
Early online date16 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • fullerene
  • metal halide perovskite
  • passivation
  • solar cell
  • tin oxide


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