Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Materials

Senior Lecturer



+44 (0)20 7594 8155p.tangney Website




B330Bessemer BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





I hold a joint appointment in the departments of Physics and Materials.

I obtained my undergraduate and masters degrees in physics from University College Cork, and my PhD in Condensed Matter Theory from the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste. My doctoral research was carried out both at SISSA and at Princeton University, where, in 2001 and 2002, I was a visiting technical staff member and visiting graduate student in the Departments of Chemistry and Geosciences. In 2002 I moved to the Physics Department of the University of California at Berkeley and the Material Sciences Division of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL) as a postdoctoral fellow. From 2004 to 2007 I was a postdoctoral fellow in the Theory Facility of the Molecular Foundry at LBL.

My research is theoretical and computational and I have broad interests in physics, materials science, chemistry, and related fields.

Selected working papers:

1. Electricity at the macroscale and its microscopic origins, 2024 (pdf, arxiv).

2. Ultrafast polarization switching in BaTiO3 by photoactivation of its ferroelectric and central modes, with Fangyuan Gu, 2024 (pdf, arXiv)

3. Wave theory of lattice dynamics, 2024 (pdf,arXiv).

4. Classical derivation of Bose-Einstein statistics, 2023 (pdf,arXiv).

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Coiana G, Lischner J, Tangney P, 2024, Breakdown of phonon band theory in MgO, Physical Review B, Vol:109, ISSN:1098-0121

Gu F, Murray E, Tangney P, 2021, Carrier-mediated control over the soft mode and ferroelectricity in BaTiO3, Physical Review Materials, Vol:5, ISSN:2475-9953

Tangney P, Cohen ML, Louie SG, 2006, Giant wave-drag enhancement of friction in sliding carbon nanotubes, Physical Review Letters, Vol:97, ISSN:0031-9007

Tangney P, Capaz RB, Spataru CD, et al., 2005, Structural transformations of carbon nanotubes under hydrostatic pressure, Nano Letters, Vol:5, ISSN:1530-6984, Pages:2268-2273

Tangney P, Scandolo S, 2003, A many-body interatomic potential for ionic systems: Application to MgO, Journal of Chemical Physics, Vol:119, ISSN:0021-9606, Pages:9673-9685

Tangney P, Fahy S, 2002, Density-functional theory approach to ultrafast laser excitation of semiconductors:: Application to the <i>A</i><sub>1</sub> phonon in tellurium -: art. no. 054302, Physical Review B, Vol:65, ISSN:1098-0121

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