North East Centre for Energy Materials

The North East Centre for Energy Materials, (NECEM), formed between the universities of Newcastle, Durham and Northumbria, seeks to unite the broad range of expertise present at the three sites to tackle a grand challenge of energy materials and will make it possible to cooperate widely with local, national and international industry.

Northumbria University has a range of assets in the materials domain which are leveraged which include:

Materials and complete device fabrication encompassing multi-target sputtering systems for thin film fabrication; electron beam and thermal evaporation systems; low-cost solution synthesis of semiconductor thin films; multiple high-temperature annealing furnaces

Materials and device characterisation including optical and electron (multipurpose FEG scanning electron microscope) microscopy and spectroscopy; atomic force microscopy; secondary ion mass spectroscopy; complete solar cell characterisation; and X-ray diffraction.

Manufacturing: Northumbria typically fabricates thousands of solar cell devices annually for emerging applications in distributed power. For this purpose and beyond, the above facilities are leveraged with inkjet printing, slot-die coating and photonic curing to create Northumbria University Fabrication (NU-FAB) – an open access facility for regional businesses to rapidly prototype energy innovations.

Smart materials & surfaces laboratory; focus on energetics of interactions occurring at the interface between materials such as liquids, solids and gases and the fabrication of novel energy efficiency devices to exploit these interactions. Research within the lab spans super-water repellent surfaces to creasing surfaces and microfluidics.

Microwave technology lab; near-field and far-field antenna measuring systems (including anechoic chamber) and vector network analysers for antenna radiation pattern measurements, medical imaging, security and other industrial imaging requirements.

  • Rapid prototyping room: computer controlled 3D printers, flatbed  precision laser cutters
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance: Jeol 400MHz Eclipse NMR Spectrometer