Lead-Free Metal Halide Perovskite Nanocrystals for Photocatalysis in Water

Metal halide perovskites with high absorption coefficient, direct generation of free charge carriers, excellent ambipolar charge carrier transport properties, point-defect tolerance, compositional versatility and solution processability are potentially transforming the photovoltaics and optoelectronics industries. However their limited ambient stability, particularly those of iodide perovskites, obscures their use as photocatalysts especially in aqueous medium. In an unprecedented approach we have exploited the photo-absorption property of the less toxic lead-free Cs3Bi2X9 (X = Br, I) nanocrystals (NCs) to catalyse the degradation of water pollutant organic dye, methylene blue (MB) in presence of visible light at room temperature. After providing a proof-of-concept with bromide perovskites in isopropanol, the perovskites are employed as photocatalysts in water medium by designing perovskite/Ag2S and perovskite/TiO2 composite systems, with Type I (or quasi Type II) and Type II alignments, respectively. Ag2S and TiO2 coatings decelerate penetration of water into the perovskite layer while facilitating charge carrier extraction. With a minimal NC loading, Cs3Bi2I9/Ag2S degrades ~90% MB within an hour. Our approach has the potential to unravel the photocatalytic properties of metal halide perovskites for a wide spectrum of real-life applications.