Deciphering the Role of Water in Promoting the Optoelectronic Performance of Surface-Engineered Lead Halide Perovskite Nanocrystals

Harshita Bhatia, Cristina Martin, Masoumeh Keshavarz, Iurii Dovgaliuk, Nadine J. Schrenker, Martin Ottesen, Weiming Qiu, Eduard Fron, Martin Bremholm, Joris Van de Vondel, Sara Bals, Maarten B.J. Roeffaers, Johan Hofkens, Elke Debroye*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Lead halide perovskites are promising candidates for high-performance light-emitting diodes (LEDs); however, their applicability is limited by their structural instability toward moisture. Although a deliberate addition of water to the precursor solution has recently been shown to improve the crystallinity and optical properties of perovskites, the corresponding thin films still do not exhibit a near-unity quantum yield. Herein, we report that the direct addition of a minute amount of water to post-treated formamidinium lead bromide (FAPbBr3) nanocrystals (NCs) substantially enhances the stability while achieving a 95% photoluminescence quantum yield in a NC thin film. We unveil the mechanism of how moisture assists in the formation of an additional NH4Br component. Alongside, we demonstrate the crucial role of moisture in assisting localized etching of the perovskite crystal, facilitating the partial incorporation of NH4+, which is key for improved performance under ambient conditions. Finally, as a proof-of-concept, the application of post-treated and water-treated perovskites is tested in LEDs, with the latter exhibiting a superior performance, offering opportunities toward commercial application in moisture-stable optoelectronics.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Pages (from-to)7294-7307
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • lead halide perovskites
  • light-emitting diodes
  • nanocrystals
  • passivation
  • post-treatment
  • spectroscopy
  • surface defects


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