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Anharmonic Semiconductors

Project description

Probing how non-periodic lattice dynamics affect semiconductor properties

Metal-halide perovskites – a subset of hybrid organic–inorganic perovskites containing halide ions – are known for their unprecedented potential to convert sunlight into electricity. Researchers working on the EU-funded ANHARMONIC project deem that what sets metal-halide perovskites apart from conventional semiconductors and gives rise to special properties that make them behave more like liquids than crystalline solids is linked to strongly anharmonic lattice dynamics. Guided by the recent studies on halide perovskites, the project aims to generalise our understanding of the relationship between lattice anharmonicity and the electronic properties of semiconductors. Project outcomes could help establish a novel scheme for designing semiconductors with desirable properties.


Recent studies of halide perovskite semiconductors (SCs) showed that they exhibit a unique combination of very-low defect density, self-healing properties and low exciton binding energies that result in excellent photovoltaic activity.

I hypothezise that the fundamental property that sets the halide perovskites apart from conventional SCs and gives rise to their beneficial properties is strongly anharmonic lattice dynamics.
Large amplitude, local polar fluctuations that result from lattice anharmonicity localize the electronic states and enhance the screening of electric charges within the material.
In other words, in some aspects, halide perovskites behave more like a liquid than a crystalline solid.

Stimulated by the recent discoveries on halide perovskites, I aim to generalize our understanding of the relationship between lattice anharmonicity and the electronic properties of SCs.
The potential outcome of this investigation will be a novel scheme to design SCs with desirable properties where lattice anharmonicity is used as a new material-engineering tool.

My strategy is to perform comparative studies in both inorganic ionic crystals and small-molecule organic crystals.
We will use low-frequency Raman spectroscopy to quantify anharmonic lattice dynamics and compare between different crystals to identify the factors that induce anharmonicity in solids.
Photoluminescence, reflectance, time-resolved terahertz and impedance spectroscopies will be used to probe the SCs optical properties, carrier mobilities and lifetimes, and their dielectric response. I expect to find that as anharmonicity increases, the dielectric response and carrier lifetimes increase while carrier mobility decreases.
Finally, we will develop a modulated Raman spectroscopic methodology that will identify specific lattice motions that are coupled to band-edge carriers, thus elucidating the microscopic mechanism of carrier-lattice interactions.



Net EU contribution
€ 1 700 000,00
Herzl street 234
7610001 Rehovot

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)