Elucidating the Weakly Reversible Cs-Pb-Br Perovskite Nanocrystal Reaction Network with High-Throughput Maps and Transformations

Advances in automation and data analytics can aid exploration of the complex chemistry of nanoparticles. Lead halide perovskite colloidal nanocrystals provide an interesting proving ground: there are reports of many different phases and transformations, which has made it hard to form a coherent conceptual framework for their controlled formation through traditional methods. In this work, we systematically explore the portion of Cs-Pb-Br synthesis space in which many optically distinguishable species are formed using high-throughput robotic synthesis to understand their formation reactions. We deploy an automated method that allows us to determine the relative amount of absorbance that can be attributed to each species in order to create maps of the synthetic space. These in turn facilitate improved understanding of the interplay between kinetic and thermodynamic factors that underlie which combination of species are likely to be prevalent under a given set of conditions. Based on these maps, we test potential transformation routes between perovskite nanocrystals of different shapes and phases. We find that shape is determined kinetically, but many reactions between different phases show equilibrium behavior. We demonstrate a dynamic equilibrium between complexes, monolayers and nanocrystals of lead bromide, with substantial impact on the reaction outcomes. This allows us to construct a chemical reaction network that qualitatively explains our results as well as previous reports and can serve as a guide for those seeking to prepare a particular composition and shape.