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Education and Outreach Programs

Oak Forest High School / Tinley Park High School ESRP 2021

Imaging Perovskite Materials at the Atomic Scale Using Synchrotron X-ray Scanning Tunneling Microscopy


  • Students:
    • Todd Bajzek (Tinley Park High School)
    • Carter Birk (Oak Forest High School)
    • Ellie Eisses (Tinley Park High School)
    • Liam Mcgoldrick (Oak Forest High School)
    • Jacob Moslander (Tinley Park High School)
    • Bella Pequette (Tinley Park High School)
    • Vineet Pillai (Tinley Park High School)
    • Dominic Rana (Tinley Park High School)
    • Alexander Sebastian (Tinley Park High School)
    • Jenna Skanberg (Tinley Park High School)
    • Charles Wyllie (Tinley Park High School)
  • Teachers:
    • James Birrell (Tinley Park High School)
  • Mentors:
    • Volker Rose (Argonne National Laboratory, Advanced Photon Source, Center for Nanoscale Materials)
    • Nozomi Shirato (Argonne National Laboratory, Advanced Photon Source, Center for Nanoscale Materials)
    • Sarah Weighold (Argonne National Laboratory, Center for Nanoscale Materials)

Center for Nanoscale Materials

Perovskites are considered to be promising candidate materials for photovoltaic cells for many reasons, including cost and ease of manufacture relative to silicon. However, the main drawback of using perovskites for this purpose is the long-term stability of the material. This experiment attempts to understand the degradation of formamidinium–methylammonium lead iodide perovskite (MAxFAyPbI3) by observing the chemical bonding state of iodine using x-ray absorption spectroscopy. In this experiment, two different perovskite compositions were analyzed using synchrotron x-ray scanning tunneling microscopy to determine if an applied voltage led to a movement of iodine ions in the sample. A horizontal shift in the peaks or intensity of the peaks would indicate such a shift in ions. This investigation would reveal which composition was more durable, allowing us to design a more efficient, longer-lasting perovskite cell. It was observed that there were shifts in both the energy and peak height of the M4 and M5 absorption edge of iodine, indicating a potential change in the bonding state of iodine in our samples.

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