High-quality single crystals of perovskite-like (CH3NH3)3Bi2I9 hybrids have been synthesized, using a layered-solution crystal-growth technique. The large dielectric constant is strongly affected by the polar ordering of its constituents. Progressive dipolar ordering of the methylammonium cation upon cooling below 300 K gradually converts the hexagonal structure (space group P63/mmc) into a monoclinic phase (C2/c) at 160 K. A well-pronounced, ferrielectric phase transition at 143 K is governed by in-plane ordering of the bismuth lone pair that breaks inversion symmetry and results in a polar phase (space group P21). The dielectric constant is markedly higher in the C2/c phase above this transition. Here, the bismuth lone pair is disordered in-plane, allowing the polarizability to be substantially enhanced. Density functional theory calculations estimate a large ferroelectric polarization of 7.94 μC/cm(2) along the polar axis in the P21 phase. The calculated polarization has almost equal contributions of the methylammonium and Bi(3+) lone pair, which are fairly decoupled.
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