Large polarons are known to form in lead halide perovskites (LHPs). Photoinduced isolated polarons at low densities have been well-researched, but many-body interactions at elevated polaron densities, exceeding the Mott criterion (i.e., Mott polaron density), have remained elusive. Here, employing ultrafast terahertz spectroscopy, we identify a stable Mott polaron state in LHPs at which the polaron wavefunctions start to overlap. The Mott polaron density is determined to be ∼1018 cm-3, in good agreement with theoretical calculations based on the Feynman polaron model. The electronic phase transition across the Mott density is found to be universal in LHPs and independent of the constituent ions. Exceeding the Mott polaron density, excess photoinjected charge carriers annihilate quickly within tens to hundreds of picoseconds, before reaching the stable and long-lived Mott state. These results have considerable implications for LHP-based devices and for understanding exotic phenomena reported in LHPs.
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© 2022 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society.