Ultraviolet Photoemission Spectroscopy and Kelvin Probe Measurements on Metal Halide Perovskites: Advantages and Pitfalls

Fengyu Zhang, Scott H. Silver, Nakita K. Noel, Florian Ullrich, Barry P. Rand, Antoine Kahn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


In this essay, a case study is presented on the electronic structure of several metal halide perovskites (MHP) using Kelvin probe (KP)-based surface photovoltage (SPV) measurements and ultraviolet photoemission spectroscopy (UPS) to demonstrate the advantages, but also the pitfalls, of using these techniques to characterize the surfaces of these materials. The first part addresses the loss of halide species from perovskite surfaces upon supragap illumination in vacuum. This has the potential to cause both a long-term alteration of the sample work function and a modification of the KP tip during SPV measurements. If undetected, this leads to a misinterpretation of the MHP surface potential. The second part illustrates the difficulties in determining the valence band maximum (VBM) of MHP surfaces with UPS and stresses the importance of taking into account the low density of states at the VBM edge. Given this circumstance, specific care must be taken to eliminate measurement artifacts in order to ascertain the presence or absence of low densities of electronic gap states above the VBM. This essay also highlights issues such as film degradation, nonequilibrium situations (e.g., SPV), and satellite emissions, which occur during photoemission spectroscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1903252
JournalAdvanced Energy Materials
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Materials Science


  • Kelvin probe
  • metal halide perovskite
  • surface photovoltage
  • ultraviolet photoemission spectroscopy


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