Soil adsorption and transport of lead in the presence of perovskite solar cell-derived organic cations

Arindam Mallick, Rene D. Mendez Lopez, Gilboa Arye, David Cahen, Iris Visoly-Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Perovskite photovoltaics offer a highly efficient and low-cost solar energy harvesting technology. However, the presence of lead (Pb) cations in photovoltaic halide perovskite (HaPs) materials is concerning, and quantifying the environmental hazard of accidental Pb2+ leaching into the soil is crucial for assessing the sustainability of this technology. Pb2+ from inorganic salts was previously found to remain in the upper soil layers due to adsorption. However, Pb-HaPs contain additional organic and inorganic cations, and competitive cation adsorption may affect Pb2+ retention in soils. Therefore, we measured, analyzed by simulations and report the depths to which Pb2+ from HaPs penetrates into 3 types of agricultural soil. Most of the HaP-leached Pb2+ is found to be retained already in the first cm of the soil columns, and subsequent rain events do not induce Pb2+ penetration below the first few cm of soil surface. Surprisingly, organic co-cations from the dissolved HaP are found to enhance the Pb2+ adsorption capacity in clay-rich soil, compared to non-HaP-based Pb2+ sources. Our results imply that installation over soil types with improved Pb2+ adsorption, and removal of only the contaminated topsoil, are sufficient means to prevent ground water contamination by HaP-leached Pb2+.

Original languageEnglish
Article number131147
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - 5 Jun 2023


  • Environmental impact
  • Halide perovskites
  • Pb
  • Soil
  • Transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


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