MPhys PhD PGCert MInstP FHEA

Assistant Professor

+44 (0)131 451 4379
Room 2.35
James Nasymth Building
Heriot-Watt University
Nick Bennett
Roles and responsibilities

Lecturer for B51GE Renewable Energy Technologies, B51GF Advanced Renewable Energy Engineering, B59ES Energy Studies, B51ET Foundations of Energy.

Programme Director for MSc Renewable Energy Engineering.


In short, Nick’s research investigates nano-materials for making better energy devices.

The aim is to enhance the electronic, optical and thermal properties of silicon-based materials through changes at the nano-scale – usually involving nano-structuring or the introduction/modification of nano-scale defects.

This makes these semiconductors better for applications in energy harvesting devices, such as thermoelectric generators, photovoltaic cells or batteries.

While the research starts at the nano-scale, it doesn’t stop there – the group builds and tests macroscale demonstrator devices based on our materials innovations.

Selected publications

(1) “Large thermoelectric power factors and impact of texturing on the thermal conductivity in polycrystalline SnSe” S. Popuri, M. Pollet, R. Decourt, F. D. Morrison, N. Bennett and J-W. G. Bos, Journal of Materials Chemistry C. 4(8), 1685-1691 (2016).

(2) “Efficient thermoelectric performance in silicon nano-films by vacancy-engineering” N. S. Bennett, N. M. Wight, S. R. Popuri and J. W. G Bos, Nano Energy 16, 350-356 (2015).

(3) “Enhanced Seebeck coefficient in silicon nanowires containing dislocations”, N. S. Bennett, D. Byrne and A. Cowley, Appl. Phys. Lett. 107 (1), 013903 (2015).

(4) “Comment on “Diffusion of n-type dopants in germanium” [Appl. Phys. Rev. 1, 011301 (2014)”, N. E. B. Cowern, S. Simdyankin, J. P. Goss, E. Napolitani, D. De Salvador, E. Bruno, S. Mirabella, C. Ahn, and N. S. Bennett, Applied Physics Reviews 2(3), 036101 (2015).

(5) “The Luminescent Properties of CuAlO2”, D. Byrne, A. Cowley, N. Bennett and E. McGlynn, Journal of Materials Chemistry C, 2 (37), 7859-7868 (2014).

(6) “Extended point defects in crystalline materials: Ge and Si”, N. E. B. Cowern, S. Simdyankin, C. Ahn, N. S. Bennett, J. P. Goss, J. -M. Hartmann, A. Pakfar, S. Hamm, J. Valentin, E. Napolitani, D. De Salvador, E. Bruno, and S. Mirabella, Phys. Rev. Lett., 110, 155501 (2013).

For a complete list of Dr. Bennet's publications, please go to his research profile portal.


Nick received a Master’s degree in Physics from the University of Warwick in 2004. Later in the same year he began a PhD at the University of Surrey. His research thesis investigated the effects of strain on dopants in silicon. In 2007 Nick joined Newcastle University as a Postdoctoral Researcher, continuing work on nano-scale doping of silicon- and germanium-based materials.

In 2009 he accepted a research position at Dublin City University, initially in a Postdoctoral Researcher position, before assuming a Lecturing role and leading two projects as Principal Investigator – the first on novel doping metrologies for nano-electronics/photovoltaics, and the second on silicon nano-pillars for thermoelectrics.

Since 2013 Nick has been Assistant Professor at Heriot-Watt University where he leads the Nano-Materials Lab ( His research aims to enhance the electronic, optical and thermal properties of silicon-based materials for applications in energy harvesting devices, such as photovoltaic cells or thermoelectric generators. He is also a Lecturer in Renewable Energy within Heriot-Watt’s School of Engineering & Physical Sciences.