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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Prof Brian Tanner, M.A., D.Phil., C.Phys., F.Inst.P, F.H.E.A., F.R.S.A.

Emeritus Professor in the Department of Physics
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43518
Room number: 120
Member of the Durham X-ray Centre
Department Rep (Physics) in the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Contact Prof Brian Tanner (email at


Responsibilities within department

Having retired as Dean for University Enterprise, I am now an Emeritus Professor of Physics with no responsibilities. I am fortunate to be granted office space in the Department from which to pursue continued academic activity

Teaching activity

I am retired but give occasional public talks.

Research interests

My research interests centre around the use of x-ray scattering to probe the structure of materials. I am particularly focused on the effect of strain on the mechanical and electronic properties of semiconductors and the relationship between structure and magnetic properties of thin film materials used for magnetic devices in the recording industry. Experiments are performed at the Diamond Light Source at Didcot near Oxford with collaborators from Dublin and Freiburg. I continue to collaborate with scientists at Kromek plc, a NETPark-based spin-out company whose technology is based on work to which I contributed in the 1990s. In addition, I am a member of the interdisciplinary Ordered Universe project studying the work of the 13th century polymath, Robert Grosseteste.

Recent peer-reviewed journal publications include:

Quantitative imaging of the stress/strain fields and generation of macroscopic cracks from indents in Silicon, B.K. Tanner, D. Allen, J. Wittge, A.N. Danilewsky, J. Garagorri, E. Gorostegui-Colinas, M.R. Elizalde and P.J.McNally, Crystals 7 (2017) 347

Structural and optical properties of oxygen doped single crystal ZnTe grown by Multi-tube Physical Vapor Transport, J.T. Mullins, F. Dierre, D.P. Halliday, B.K. Tanner, I. Radley, Z. Kang and C.J. Summers, J. Mater. Sci.: Mater. in Electronics 28 (2017) 11950-11960

Bow-shaped caustics from conical prisms: a 13th Century account of rainbow formation from Robert Grosseteste’s De iride, J.S.Harvey, H.E.Smithson, C.R.Siviour, G.E.M.Gasper, S.O.Sønnesyn, B.K.Tanner and T.C.B.McLeish, Applied Optics 56 (2017) G197-G204

Non-destructive X-ray diffraction measurement of warpage in silicon die embedded in integrated circuit packages, B.K.Tanner, A.N. Danilewsky, R.K. Vijayaraghavan, A. Cowley and P.J. McNally, J. Appl. Cryst. 50 (2017) 547-554

Research Groups

Department of Physics

Centre for Materials Physics

  • Correlated Electron Systems

Research Projects

Department of Geography

  • Durham - CMI Knowledge Exchange Laboratory, The

Department of History

Research Interests

  • Metallic multilayers
  • Semiconductors and ceramics
  • X-ray scattering and magnetism

Indicators of Esteem

  • :

    2005 Barrett Award of the International Centre for Diffraction Data, Pennsylvania, USA

    2012 Queen's Award for Enterprise promotion

    2014 Gabor (formerly Duddell) Medal and Prize of the Institute of Physics


Chapter in book

Conference Paper

Conference Proceeding

Journal Article

Related Links

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Industry & University: academic/industrial development
  • Industry & University: co-founder, Bede Scientific Instruments Ltd, now Bede plc
  • Technology transfer: academic/industrial development
  • Technology transfer: co-founder, Bede Scientific Instruments Ltd, now Bede plc
  • Industry: Chemicals, plastics, oil & gas: academic/industrial development
  • Industry: Chemicals, plastics, oil & gas: co-founder, Bede Scientific Instruments Ltd
  • Music: physics of (and) music
  • Science: Education, industry & the community: academic/industrial development
  • Science: Education, industry & the community: co-founder, Bede Scientific Instruments Ltd, now Bede plc
  • Atomic particles: Basic matter: physics of materials
  • Atomic particles: Basic matter: ionizing radiation
  • Industrial materials: physics of materials
  • Industrial materials: ionizing radiation