NREL - National Renewable Energy Laboratory
About NREL Energy Analysis Science and Technology Technology Transfer Technology Deployment Energy Systems Integration

Nathan R. Neale

Senior Scientist

Photo of Nathan R. Neale
(303) 384-6165
At NREL Since: 

Nate Neale received his B.A. degree in chemistry from Middlebury College in 1998, where he studied radical substitution reactions at activated arenes and the binding mode of cisplatin, a common commercial anti-cancer drug, to a model DNA fragment.  His scientific training continued as a graduate student under Prof. T. Don Tilley at the University of California, Berkeley, investigating the mechanism by which a transition-metal catalyst facilitates the polymerization of stannanes to polystannanes, a class of inorganic polymers with unique optical and electronic properties.  As a postdoctoral researcher at NREL, he worked on controlling the synthesis and surface chemistry of TiO2 nanostructures for dye-sensitized solar cells in the laboratories of Dr. Arthur J. Frank.  After a brief stint at the University of Colorado, Boulder, during which he worked in collaboration with Dr. Frank, Dr. Arthur J. Nozik, and Prof. David Jonas on photoelectrodes for photoelectrochemical water splitting, he returned to NREL as a staff scientist in 2008.  His current research interests are focused on tailoring the chemical structure and photophysics of nanostructured inorganic semiconductors and catalysts for photovoltaics, solar fuels, and related energy conversion and storage concepts.

Research Interests 

  • Solar energy conversion strategies featuring quantum-confined and bulk semiconductors
  • Synthesis of nanostructured inorganic materials
  • Charge transport processes in inorganic semiconductors
  • Photoelectrochemical properties of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts


  • 2003 Ph.D. Inorganic Chemistry; University of California, Berkeley

  • 1998 B.A. Chemistry (high honors) with Political Science minor; Middlebury College, Vermont

Selected Publications 

  1. D. A. Ruddy, P. T. Erslev, S. E. Habas, J. A. Seabold, N. R. Neale (2013). "Surface Chemistry Exchange of Alloyed Germanium Nanocrystals: A Pathway Toward Conductive Group IV Nanocrystal Films." J. Phys. Chem. Lett. (4); pp. 416-421.
  2. Kang, S.H.; Zhu, K.; Neale, N.R.; Frank, A.J. (2011). "Hole transport in sensitized CdS–NiO nanoparticle photocathode." Chem. Commun. (47); pp. 10419-10421.
  3. Neale, N.R.; Lee, B.G.; Kang, S.H.; Frank, A.J. (2011). "Near-Infrared Light Trapping in Disordered Inverse Opals." J. Phys. Chem. C. (115:29); pp. 14341-14346. Accessed July 27, 2012:
  4. Ruddy, D.A.; Johnson, J.C.; Smith, E.R.; Neale, N.R. (2010). "Size and bandgap control in the solution-phase synthesis of near-infrared-emitting germanium nanocrystals." ACS Nano (4); p. 7459.
  5. Sarkar, S.K.; Kim, J.Y.; Goldstein, D.N.; Neale, N.R.; Zhu, K.; Elliott, C.M.; Frank, A.J.; George, S.M. (2010). "In2S3 atomic layer deposition and its application as a sensitizer on TiO2 nanotube arrays for solar energy conversion." J. Phys. Chem. C (114); p. 8032.
  6. Wang, Q.; Zhu, K.; Neale, N.R.; Frank, A.J. (2009). "Constructing Ordered Sensitized Heterojunctions: Bottom-up Electrochemical Synthesis of p-type Semiconductors in Oriented n-TiO­2­ Nanotube Arrays." Nano Lett. (9); p. 806.
  7. Neale, N.R.; Frank, A.J. (2007). "Size and shape control of nanocrystallites in mesoporous TiO2 films." J. Mater. Chem. (collection: New energy materials) (17:30); p. 3216.
  8. Zhu, K.; Neale, N.R.; Miedaner, A.; Frank, A.J. (2007). "Enhanced charge-collection efficiencies and light scattering in dye-sensitized solar cells using oriented TiO2 nanotube arrays." Nano Lett. (7); p. 69.
  9. Neale, N.R.; van de Lagemaat, J.; Kopidakis, N.; Grätzel, M.; Frank, A.J. (2005). "Effect of a coadsorbent on the performance of dye-sensitized TiO2 solar cells: Shielding versus band-edge movement." J. Phys. Chem. B (109); p. 23183 .
  10. Neale, N.R.; Tilley, T.D. (2005). "Synthesis, structure, and a-elimination chemistry of hafnocene triarylstannyl complexes." J. Am. Chem. Soc. (127); p. 14745.

NREL Publications 

View NREL Publications for this staff member.