Spatially Heterogeneous Chlorine Incorporation in Organic–Inorganic Perovskite Solar Cells

Spatial heterogeneities in the chemical makeup of thin film photovoltaic devices are pivotal in determining device efficiency. We report the in-plane spatial distribution and degree of chlorine incorporation in organic–inorganic lead halide perovskite absorbers by means of nondestructive synchrotron-based nanoprobe X-ray fluorescence. The presence of chlorine is positively identified in CH<sub>3</sub>NH<sub>3</sub>PbI<sub>3</sub> films synthesized with Cl-containing precursors and as an impurity in some films synthesized with nominally Cl-free precursors. The impurity may be introduced from precursors or as contaminants during film synthesis. The films formed from Cl-containing precursors contain roughly an order of magnitude higher amount of chlorine, with Cl:I values greater than 0.02 found whether Cl is present in either the organic or the inorganic precursor for both one- and two-step fabrication processes. A spatial variation in the Cl incorporation is observed within single particles and as well as between particles within a given film, and the standard deviation of the Cl:I ratio across the films is up to 30% of the average value. Understanding and controlling the heterogeneous distribution of chlorine in hybrid perovskite layers may offer a path to improve their photovoltaic performance.