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Mechanical Synthesis of Metal Halide Perovskites

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

Perovskite halides (e.g. CH3NH3PbI3 or MAPbI3) are a new class of light absorbers with exceptional and unparalleled progress in solar cell performance. A perovskite is any material with a specific ABX3 crystal structure, wherein an organic based cation is A, a metal cation is B, and a divalent halide anion is X. Work on solar cells using these perovskite materials has advanced rapidly as a result of the material’s excellent light absorption, charge-carrier mobilities, and lifetimes that result in high device efficiency with low-cost, industry-scalable technology. However, this potential for low cost and scalability requires overcoming barriers hindering the commercialization of perovskite devices related to perovskite stability, efficiency, and environmental compatibility. NREL researchers have made significant technical contributions within six areas critical to developing commercialized perovskite devices, which include increases in film efficiency and stability and innovations in perovskite film deposition methods, film chemistry, hole and electron extraction layer engineering, and device architecture.


In the fabrication of perovskite devices numerous solutions are used, and the most common solvents in these solutions are dimethylformamide (DMF) and dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). Storing these solutions in nitrogen in the dark, as is typically done, results in dramatic compositional changes in the subsequent perovskite devices. The changes in solution chemistry lead to a modification of the film stoichiometry, band gap, and structure. Developing scalable, stable precursors for the alloyed metals in perovskites is important not only for laboratory-scale research, but also for the industrial production of perovskites.

Researchers at NREL have created a method of synthesizing metal halide perovskites mechanically to avoid solution degradation. When precursor salts were ball-milled into a powder they were found to be chemically stable, unlike the solution methods normally used. This method allows the storage of large quantities of stoichiometric precursor materials and enables more consistent, higher performance perovskite devices.

This technology is within the Perovskites at Scale group of NREL’s perovskite portfolio. For further information regarding NREL's broader perovskite portfolio, please visit NREL's Perovskite Patent Portfolio website.

The Perovskites at Scale category comprises techniques and processes that enable rapid, inexpensive deposition of high-quality perovskite films. These inventions allow perovskite photovoltaics to be manufactured consistently and cost effectively in an industrial environment.

  • Enables consistent, high performance perovskite device fabrication
  • Allows storage of large quantities of precursor material without degradation
Applications and Industries
  • Perovskites
  • Photovoltaics
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
NREL ROI 18-27PrototypeAvailable04/27/201803/28/2018

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To: Bill Hadley<>