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Prof Neil Beattie


Department: Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering

I am a Professor of Energy Innovation and the Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Renewable Energy Northeast Universities (ReNU).

Before joining Northumbria University in 2009, I completed a PhD in physics at the University of Cambridge (Cavendish Laboratory) in 2005. This work was sponsored by Toshiba (EPSRC CASE award) and was in the field of semiconductor devices for quantum information. Following my PhD, I worked as an Innovation Consultant from 2005-2009 on behalf of clients including Shell, P&G, Rolls-Royce and Boeing.

At Northumbria University, I belong to the Department of Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering and in 2013/14 led the launch of complete new undergraduate provision in physics. These programmes now have over a hundred graduates and are accredited by the Institute of Physics.

My research is in the area of photovoltaics and in 2017, together with colleagues in the region, we created the EPSRC-ISCF North East Centre for Energy Materials (NECEM). This brought together a coherent base of research excellence in energy materials and systems and was a key element in securing Northumbria University's first EPSRC CDT.

The combination of my academic track record and industrial experience has allowed me to develop specialism in strategic research leadership and innovation. I am now using these skills to establish and lead Energy Futures - a diverse and inclusive community of academics across different disciplines at Northumbria University with the common aim of decarbonisation through research impact.


Neil Beattie

Campus Address

Ellison Building

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

I have a background in semiconductor physics and have applied this to the field of photovoltaics (PV). In particular I now specialise in solution-processed inorganic thin film PV using materials such as Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4. At Northumbria University, we have distictive materials fabrication capability that allows us to make thin film solar cells from substrates such as glass and foils through to the photovoltaic absorber, charge transport layers and electrical contacts. In addition to complete device fabrication, we also use a wide range of materials characterisation techniques to understand fundamental physics and engineering relating to defects, interfaces and optoelectronic behaviour. In 2019, I was awarded an EPSRC Adventurous Manufacturing grant (EP/T005491/1) to assess the feasibility of creating a transformative new sub-field, Product Integrated Photovoltaics. This has allowed me to perform research into manufacturing techniques and develop new capabilities at Northumbria University.

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Ex-situ Ge-doping of CZTS Nanocrystals and CZTSSe Solar Absorber Films, Naylor, M., Tiwari, D., Sheppard, A., Laverock, J., Campbell, S., Ford, B., Xu, X., Jones, M., Qu, Y., Maiello, P., Barrioz, V., Beattie, N., Fox, N., Fermin, D., Zoppi, G. 27 Apr 2022, In: Faraday Discussions
  • Recovery mechanisms in aged kesterite solar cells, Campbell, S., Duchamp, M., Ford, B., Jones, M., Nguyen, L., Naylor, M., Xu, X., Maiello, P., Zoppi, G., Barrioz, V., Beattie, N., Qu, Y. 8 Mar 2022, In: ACS Applied Energy Materials
  • Defect limitations in Cu2ZnSn(S, Se)4 solar cells utilizing an In2S3 buffer layer, Campbell, S., Qu, Y., Gibbon, J., Edwards, H., Dhanak, V., Tiwari, D., Barrioz, V., Beattie, N., Zoppi, G. 29 May 2020, In: Journal of Applied Physics
  • Innovative fabrication of low-cost kesterite solar cells for distributed energy applications, Xu, X., Qu, Y., Duchamp, M., Mirsaidov, U., Campbell, S., Barrioz, V., Zoppi, G., Beattie, N. 15 Jun 2020, 2020 47th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2020, Piscataway, NJ, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
  • Real-time electron nanoscopy of photovoltaic absorber formation from kesterite nanoparticles, Qu, Y., Chee, S., Duchamp, M., Campbell, S., Zoppi, G., Barrioz, V., Giret, Y., Penfold, T., Chaturvedi, A., Mirsaidov, U., Beattie, N. 27 Jan 2020, In: ACS Applied Energy Materials
  • Direct evidence of causality between chemical purity and band-edge potential fluctuations in nanoparticle ink-based Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4 solar cells, Campbell, S., Qu, Y., Major, J., Lagarde, D., Labbé, C., Maiello, P., Barrioz, V., Beattie, N., Zoppi, G. 27 Mar 2019, In: Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics
  • Solution processing route to Na incorporation in CZTSSe nanoparticle ink solar cells on foil substrate, Xu, X., Qu, Y., Campbell, S., Le Garrec, M., Ford, B., Barrioz, V., Zoppi, G., Beattie, N. 1 Apr 2019, In: Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Electronics
  • Study of thin film poly-crystalline CdTe solar cells presenting high acceptor concentrations achieved by in-situ arsenic doping, Kartopu, G., Oklobia, O., Turkay, D., Diercks, D., Gorman, B., Barrioz, V., Campbell, S., Major, J., Al Turkestani, M., Yerci, S., Barnes, T., Beattie, N., Zoppi, G., Jones, S., Irvine, S. 1 Jun 2019, In: Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
  • CZTSSe Solar Cells from Nanoparticle Inks, Zoppi, G., Beattie, N. 1 Dec 2018
  • Design and fabrication of InAs/GaAs QD based intermediate band solar cells by quantum engineering, Beattie, N., See, P., Zoppi, G., Ushasree, P., Duchamp, M., Farrer, I., Donchev, V., Ritchie, D., Tomić, S. 29 Nov 2018, 2018 IEEE 7th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion, WCPEC 2018 - A Joint Conference of 45th IEEE PVSC, 28th PVSEC and 34th EU PVSEC, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.

PGR Supervision

  • Yongtao Qu Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4 Solar Cells Prepared from Cu2ZnSnS4 Nanoparticle Inks Start Date: 22/10/2012 End Date: 05/04/2016
  • Yuan Shi Investigation of a Novel Air Source Heat Pump Test Platform Start Date: 31/01/2011 End Date: 24/01/2013
  • Ewan Matheson Atomically thin layers for energy harvesting and storage Start Date: 01/10/2019
  • Bethan Ford Investigation of Kesterite Solar Cells on Molybdenum Foil Substrates Start Date: 01/10/2018
  • Xinya Xu Flexible Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4 solar cells made from nanoparticle inks Start Date: 01/10/2015 End Date: 30/05/2019

Further Information




Photovoltaics Research Group:



Energy Futures


Google Scholar Profile


  • Other Qualification December 01 2014
  • Education PCAPL June 03 2011
  • Physics PhD October 01 2000
  • Physics BSc (Hons) October 01 1996
  • Fellow (FHEA) Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2014
  • Member Institute of Physics (IOP) 2014

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