Our perovskite research in collaboration with U. Toledo (Prof. Yan’s group) and Los Alamos National Lab (Drs. A. Jones and M. Pettes) has been published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry-C.
Focused ion beam techniques have been frequently used to section metal-halide perovskites for microstructural investigations. However, the ion beams directly irradiating the sample surface may alter its properties far different from those of pristine, potentially leading to modified deterioration mechanisms under aging stressors. Here, we combine complementary approaches to measure the subsurface characteristics of polished perovskites and identify the chemical species responsible for the measured properties. Analysis of the experimental results in conjunction with Monte Carlo simulations indicates that atomic displacements and local heating occur in the first ≈15 nm of the subsurface of methylammonium lead iodide (MAPbI3) by glancing-angle Ar+ beam irradiation (4 kV at 3°). The lead-rich, iodine-deficient surface promotes rapid phase segregation under thermal aging conditions. On the other hand, despite the subsurface modification, our experiments confirm that the rest of the MAPbI3 bulk retains the material integrity. Our observation supports that polished perovskites could serve in studying the properties of bulk or buried junctions far away from the altered subsurface with care.