Common Defects Accelerate Charge Carrier Recombination in CsSnI3 without Creating Mid-Gap States
Lead-free metal halide perovskites are environmentally friendly and have favorable electro-optical properties; however, their efficiencies are significantly below the theoretical limit. Using ab initio nonadiabatic molecular dynamics, we show that common intrinsic defects accelerate nonradiative charge recombination in CsSnI3 without creating midgap traps. This is in contrast to Pb-based perovskites, in which many defects have little influence on and even prolong carrier lifetimes. Sn-related defects, such as Sn vacancies and replacement of Sn with Cs are most detrimental, since Sn removal breaks the largest number of bonds and strongly perturbs the Sn−I lattice that supports the carriers. The defects increase the nonadiabatic electron-vibrational coupling and interact strongly with free carrier states. Point defects associated with I atoms are less detrimental, and therefore, CsSnI3 synthesis should be performed in Sn rich conditions. The study provides an atomistic rationalization of why lead-free CsSnI3 exhibits lower photovoltaic efficiency compared to some lead-based perovskites.