Polarons, bubbles of distortion in a perovskite lattice.

An illustration shows polarons – fleeting distortions in a material’s atomic lattice ––in a promising next-generation energy material, lead hybrid perovskite. Scientists at SLAC and Stanford observed for the first time how these “bubbles” of distortion form around charge carriers – electrons and holes that have been liberated by pulses of light – which are shown as bright spots here. This process may help explain why electrons travel so efficiently in these materials, leading to high solar cell performance. 

Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

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These fleeting disruptions, seen for the first time in lead hybrid perovskites, may help explain why these materials are exceptionally good at turning sunlight into electrical current in solar cells.

An illustration shows polarons as bubbles of distortion in a perovskite lattice
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