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  1. Spatial confinement of charge carriers in nanosize semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) results in highly tunable, size-dependent optoelectronic properties that can be utilized in various commercial applications. Although in such nanostructures, non-stoichiometry is frequently encountered using conventional synthesis techniques, it is not often addressed or considered. Here, we perform ab initio molecular dynamics simulations on non-stoichiometric CdSe clusters to study the phonon-mediated charge carrier relaxation dynamics. We model cation-rich and anion-rich QDs passivated with monocharged neutralizing ligands of different sizes. Our studies confirm the presence of localized trap states at the valence band edge in only anion-rich QDs due to the presence of undercoordinated exposed surface Se atoms. Noteworthily, these localized states disappear when using bulkier ligands. Calculations reveal that the size of the ligands controls the crystal vibrations and electron–phonon coupling, while ligand coordination number affects the electronic structure. For a particular non-stoichiometric CdSe QD, a change of a ligand can either increase or decrease the total electron relaxation time compared to that of stoichiometric QDs. Our results emphasize the importance of ligand engineering in non-stoichiometric QDs for photoinduced dynamics and guide future work for the implementation of improved materials for optoelectronic devices.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 11, 2024
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  4. Grain boundaries (GBs) in perovskite solar cells and optoelectronic devices are widely regarded as detrimental defects that accelerate charge and energy losses through nonradiative carrier trapping and recombination, but the mechanism is still under debate owing to the diversity of GB configurations and behaviors. We combine ab initio electronic structure and machine learning force field to investigate evolution of the geometric and electronic structure of a CsPbBr 3 GB on a nanosecond timescale, which is comparable with the carrier recombination time. We demonstrate that the GB slides spontaneously within a few picoseconds increasing the band gap. Subsequent structural oscillations dynamically produce midgap trap states through Pb–Pb interactions across the GB. After several hundred picoseconds, structural distortions start to occur, increasing the occurrence of deep midgap states. We identify a distinct correlation of the average Pb–Pb distance and fluctuations in the ion coordination numbers with the appearance of the midgap states. Suppressing GB distortions through annealing and breaking up Pb–Pb dimers by passivation can efficiently alleviate the detrimental effects of GBs in perovskites. The study provides new insights into passivation of the detrimental GB defects, and demonstrates that structural and charge carrier dynamics in perovskites are intimately coupled.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 22, 2023
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