Ionic polarization-induced current–voltage hysteresis in CH3NH3PbX3 perovskite solar cells
CH3NH3PbX3 (MAPbX(3)) perovskites have attracted considerable attention as absorber materials for solar light harvesting, reaching solar to power conversion efficiencies above 20%. In spite of the rapid evolution of the efficiencies, the understanding of basic properties of these semiconductors is still ongoing. One phenomenon with so far unclear origin is the so-called hysteresis in the current-voltage characteristics of these solar cells. Here we investigate the origin of this phenomenon with a combined experimental and computational approach. Experimentally the activation energy for the hysteretic process is determined and compared with the computational results. First-principles simulations show that the timescale for MA(+) rotation excludes a MA-related ferroelectric effect as possible origin for the observed hysteresis. On the other hand, the computationally determined activation energies for halide ion (vacancy) migration are in excellent agreement with the experimentally determined values, suggesting that the migration of this species causes the observed hysteretic behaviour of these solar cells.