Paul holds a joint appointment in the departments of Physics and Materials.
He obtained his undergraduate and masters degrees in physics from University College Cork and his PhD in Condensed Matter Theory from the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste. His doctoral research was carried out both at SISSA and at Princeton University where, in 2001 and 2002, he was a visiting technical staff member and visiting graduate student in the Departments of Chemistry and Geosciences. In 2002 Paul 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. In 2004 he joined the Theory Facility of the Molecular Foundry at LBL as postdoctoral fellow.
Paul's research is theoretical and computational in nature and he has broad interests in physics, materials science, chemistry, and related fields. He generally develops and applies computational techniques such as density functional theory (DFT) and molecular dynamics to study the electronic structure and finite temperature properties of both bulk and nanostructured materials and devices. Paul's past work has included studies of the structural, vibrational, and electronic properties of carbon nanotubes and their responses to pressure and temperature; the mechanisms for mechanical energy dissipation in nanoscale machinery; the structure and dynamics of technologically and geophysically important oxides such as silica, alumina, and MgO; the dynamics of semiconductors following intense ultrafast laser excitation; and the structures and electronic properties of semiconductor nanocrystals.
Sarsam J, Finnis MW, Tangney P, 2013, Atomistic force field for alumina fit to density functional theory, Journal of Chemical Physics, Vol:139, ISSN:0021-9606
et al., 2011, Factors influencing the distribution of charge in polar nanocrystals, Physical Review B, Vol:83, ISSN:1098-0121
Tangney P, Scandolo S, 2009, Melting slope of MgO from molecular dynamics and density functional theory, Journal of Chemical Physics, Vol:131, ISSN:0021-9606