Mishra, Aditya, Michael A. Hope, Masaud Almalki, Lukas Pfeifer, Shaik Mohammed Zakeeruddin, Michael Grätzel, and Lyndon Emsley. “Dynamic Nuclear Polarization Enables NMR of Surface Passivating Agents on Hybrid Perovskite Thin Films.” Journal of the American Chemical Society, August 12, 2022, jacs.2c05316.
Surface and bulk molecular modulators are the key to improving the efficiency and stability of hybrid perovskite solar cells. However, due to their low concentration, heterogeneous environments, and low sample mass, it remains challenging to characterize their structure and dynamics at the atomic level, as required to establish structure−activity relationships. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy has revealed a wealth of information on the atomic-level structure of hybrid perovskites, but the inherent insensitivity of NMR severely limits its utility to characterize thin-film samples. Dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) can enhance NMR sensitivity by orders of magnitude, but DNP methods for perovskite materials have so far been limited. Here, we determined the factors that limit the efficiency of DNP NMR for perovskite samples by systematically studying layered hybrid perovskite analogues. We find that the fast-relaxing dynamic cation is the major impediment to higher DNP efficiency, while microwave absorption and particle morphology play a secondary role. We then show that the former can be mitigated by deuteration, enabling 1H DNP enhancement factors of up to 100, which can be harnessed to enhance signals from dopants or additives present in very low concentrations. Specifically, using this new DNP methodology at a high magnetic field and with small sample volumes, we have recorded the NMR spectrum of the 20 nm (6 μg) passivating layer on a single perovskite thin film, revealing a two-dimensional (2D) layered perovskite structure at the surface that resembles the n = 1 homologue but which has greater disorder than in bulk layered perovskites.