Dr Fiona Beck

FERL Research Fellow and Lecturer
ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science
Researcher - Solar Photovoltaics
Ian Ross (31), R230
 +61 2 6127 0113



Fiona J Beck joined the Research School of Engineering at The Australian National University as a research fellow and lecturer under the Future Engineering Research Leadership Fellowship in 2015.  

She has an MSci degree in physics from The University of Glasgow, and was awarded the Eve and Ravenscroft prize for the most distinguished graduate from the Faculty of Physical Sciences.  She obtained a PhD from The ANU in 2011, with a thesis on designing plasmonic light trapping schemes for applications in solar cells.  She then spent 4 years at ICFO - The Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, Spain, working with the Solution Processed Nanophotonics Group, employing plasmonics to enhance the performance of novel optoelectronic devices.  In 2012 she was awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship (similar to a DECRA) to undertake this project. 


Academic History

2015-Onwards:  FERL fellow, Research School of Engineering, ANU

2011-2014: Postdoctral Researcher, Solution Processed Nanophotonics Group, The Institute of Photonic Science, Spain

2007-2010: PhD in Nanophotonics for light trapping, College of Engineering and Computer Science, The Australian National University, Australia

2002-2006: First Class MSci in Physics, University of Glasgow, Scotland


Grants and Academic Awards

2014       Future Engineering Research Leader Fellowship, RSE, CSES, ANU 

2012       Marie Curie FP7-People-2011-IIF grant for the PECQDPV project.

2006       Ede & Ravenscroft Prize, awarded annually to the most distinguished graduate of the Physical Sciences Faculty at the University of Glasgow


Research interests

Nanostructured Optoelectronics, Nanophotonics and Plasmonics 

I am interested in harnessing light matter interactions at the nano-scale to advance renewable energy and energy saving technologies. My research spans two boundaries: between semiconductor physics and nano optics; and between fundamental and applied concepts.  I explore fundamental questions about the processes occurring in semiconducting materials in the vicinity of strong optical resonances and nanostructured interfaces.  By exploiting nanophotonic structures and novel device architectures I work to improve both the electrical and optical performance of optoelectronic devices with application to:

  • photovoltaics and solar energy 
  • photodetection
  • sensing
  • optical devices

Some of the specific research questions I am working on include:

  • Processes that occur in semiconductors in the vicinity of optical resonances
  • Modification of the charge generation profile to improve power conversion efficiency
  • Charge transport across nanostructured interfaces and in ultra-thin nanostructured solar cells
  • The role of nanophotonic structures in charge separation
  • Energy transport between low dimensional semiconductors (quantum dots and wells) and plasmonic structures 
  • Advanced electrical and optical characterisation of semiconductors and optoelectronic devices
  • Modelling of the electrical and optical characteristics of semiconductors and optoelectronic devices


Publication List

  • F. J. Beck, “Designing plasmonic nanoparticles for light trapping applications in solar cells”, PhD Thesis, The Australian National University, 2011

Book Chapters

  1. F. J. Beck, S. Mokkapati, K. R. Catchpole, “Chapter 2: Nanoplasmonics for light trapping in solar cells”, in Nanotechnology in Australia: Showcase of Early Career Research, edited by D. M. Kane, A. P. Micolich, and J. R. Rabeau, (Pan Stanford Publishing Pte. Ltd, 2011)
  2. S. Mokkapati, F. J. Beck, J. Wilson, E. Wang, K.R. Catchpole, “Nanophotonics for Light Trapping” in  Nanotechnology Toward the Sustainocene, edited by T. A. Faunce, (CRC Press, 2014)

Journal Publications

  1. F. J. Beck, A. Stavrinadis, S. L. Diedenhofen, T. Lasanta, G. Konstantatos,“Surface plasmon polariton couplers for light trapping in thin-film absorbers and their application to colloidal quantum dot optoelectronics, ACS Photonics, 1, 11, 1197-1205 (2014)
  2. F. J. Beck, T. Lasanta and G. Konstantatos, “Plasmonic Schottky nano-junctions for tailoring the photogeneration profile in thin film solar cells”, Advanced Optical Materials, 2, 493-500, (2014)
  3. A. Mihi, F. J. Beck, T. Lasanta, A. K. Rath and G. Konstantatos,  “Imprinted electrodes for enhanced light trapping in solution processed solar cells”, 26,  443-448, Advanced Materials,(2013)
  4. A. Basch, F. J. Beck,  T. Söderström, S. Varlamov, K. R. Catchpole,“Enhanced light trapping in solar cells using snow globe coating”, Progess in Photovoltaics, 20 (7), 837-842 (2012)
  5. F. J. Beck, F. P. G. de Arquer, M. Bernechea, G. Konstantatos, “Electrical effects of metal nanoparticles embedded in ultra-thin colloidal quantum dot films”, Applied Physics Letters, 101,041103 (2012)
  6.  A. Basch, F. J. Beck,  T. Söderström, S. Varlamov, K. R. Catchpole, “Combined plasmonic and dielectric rear reflectors for enhanced photocurrent in solar cells”, Applied Physics Letters, 100, 243903 (2012)
  7. F. P. G. de Arquer, F. J. Beck, M. Bernechea, G. Konstantatos, “Plasmonic light trapping leads to responsivity increase in colloidal quantum dot photodetectors”, Applied Physics Letters, 100, 043101 (2012).
  8. F. J. Beck, S. Mokkapati, and K. R. Catchpole, “Light trapping with plasmonic particles: beyond the dipole model”, Optics Express, 19 (25), 25230 (2011). 
  9. F. P. G. de Arquer, F. J. Beck, G. Konstantatos, “Absorption Enhancement in Solution Processed Metal-Semiconductor Nanocomposites”, Optics Express, 19 (21), 21038-21049 (2011).
  10.  K. R. Catchpole, S. Mokkapati, F. J. Beck, E.-C. Wang, J. Lee, A. McKinley, A. Basch, “Plasmonics and nanophotonics for photovoltaics”, Materials Research Society Bulletin, July 2011.
  11. K. R. Catchpole, S. Mokkapati, F. J. Beck, ´´Comparing nanowire, multi-junction and single junction solar cells in the presence of light trapping´´, Journal of Applied Physics, 109, 084519 (2011) [Citations: 11]
  12. S. Mokkapati, F. J. Beck, R. de Waele, A. Polman, K. R. Catchpole, “Resonant nano-antennas for light trapping in plasmonic solar cells”, Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics. 44, 185101, (2011) 
  13. S. Pillai, F. J. Beck, K. R. Catchpole, Z. Ouyang, M. A. Green, The effect of dielectric spacer thickness on surface plasmon enhanced solar cells for front and rear side depositions”, Journal of Applied Physics, 109, 073105, (2011). [Citations: 52]
  14. F. J. Beck, E. Verhagen, S. Mokkapati, A. Polman, and K. R. Catchpole, “Resonant SPP modes supported by discrete metal nanoparticles on high-index substrates”, Optics Express, 19 (S2), A146(2011).
  15. S. Mokkapati, F. J. Beck, K. R. Catchpole, Analytical approach for design of blazed dielectric gratings for light trapping in solar cells¨, Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, 44, 055103, (2011)
  16.  Z. Ouyang, S. Pillai, F. J. Beck, O. Kunz, S. Varlamov, K. R. Catchpole, P. Campbell, M. A.      Green, Effective light trapping in polycrystalline silicon thin-film solar cells by means of rear localised surface plasmons”, Applied Physics Letters, 96, 261109, (2010)
  17. F. J. Beck, S. Mokkapati, and K. R. Catchpole, “Plasmonic light-trapping for Si solar cells using self-assembled, Ag nanoparticles”, Progress in Photovoltaics, 18 (7), 500, (2010)
  18. F. J. Beck, S. Mokkapati, A. Polman, and K. R. Catchpole, “Asymmetry in light-trapping by plasmonic nanoparticle arrays located on the front or on the rear of solar cells”, Applied Physics Letters, 96, 033113, (2010). [Citations: 71]
  19.  S. Mokkapati, F. J. Beck, A. Polman and K. R. Catchpole, “Designing periodic arrays of metal nanoparticles for light-trapping applications in solar cells”, Applied Physics Letters, 95, 053115, (2009).
  20. F. J. BeckA. Polman and K. R. Catchpole, “Tuneable light trapping for solar cells using localised surface plasmons”, Journal of Applied Physics, 105 (11), 114310, (2009)
  21. 21.    G. Gibson, L. Barron, F. J. Beck, G. Whyte and M. Padgett, Optically controlled grippers for manipulating micron-sized particles”, New Journal of Physics, 9, 14, (2007)

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