Ion migration drives self-passivation in perovskite solar cells and is enhanced by light soaking.
Perovskite solar cells have rapidly become the most promising emerging photovoltaic technology. This is largely due to excellent self-passivating properties of the perovskite absorber material, allowing for a remarkable ease of fabrication. However, the field is plagued by poor reproducibility and conflicting results. This study finds that dynamic processes (ion migration) taking place after fabrication (without external stimuli) have a large influence on materials properties and need to be controlled to achieve reproducible results. The morphological and optoelectronic properties of triple cation perovskites with varying halide ratios are studied as they evolve over time. It is found that ion migration is essential for self-passivation, but can be impeded by low ion mobility or a low number of mobile species. Restricted ion movement can lead to crack formation in strained films, with disastrous consequences for device performance. However, a short light soaking treatment after fabrication helps to mobilize ions and achieve self-passivation regardless of composition. The community should adopt this treatment as standard practice to increase device performance and reproducibility.