Probing the Reactivity of ZnO with Perovskite Precursors

Sofia Apergi, Geert Brocks, Shuxia Tao (Corresponding author), Selina Olthof (Corresponding author)

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To achieve more stable and efficient metal halide perovskite devices, optimization of charge transport materials and their interfaces with perovskites is crucial. ZnO on paper would make an ideal electron transport layer in perovskite devices. This metal oxide has a large bandgap, making it transparent to visible light; it can be easily n-type doped, has a decent electron mobility, and is thought to be chemically relatively inert. However, in combination with perovskites, ZnO has turned out to be a source of instability, rapidly degrading the performance of devices. In this work, we provide a comprehensive experimental and computational study of the interaction between the most common organic perovskite precursors and the surface of ZnO, with the aim of understanding the observed instability. Using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, we find a complete degradation of the precursors in contact with ZnO and the formation of volatile species as well as new surface bonds. Our computational work reveals that different pristine and defected surface terminations of ZnO facilitate the decomposition of the perovskite precursor molecules, mainly through deprotonation, making the deposition of the latter on those surfaces impossible without the use of passivation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14984-14994
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number12
Early online date14 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2024


FundersFunder number
Ministry of Economic Affairs Innovation
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek740.018.024
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek


    • DFT
    • interface
    • metal oxide
    • perovskite
    • reactivity
    • XPS
    • ZnO


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