Robert A. Pelcovits Professor of Physics

Professor Pelcovits joined the Brown Physics Department in 1979. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he received his Ph. D. from Harvard University in 1978. He has done postdoctoral research at the University of Illinois and Brookhaven National Laboratory. He was an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow and a recipient of the Bergmann Memorial Award from the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation. He has been a visiting professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Tel Aviv University and Brandeis University. He was named a Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence at Brown in 2008 for a three-year term.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

scholarly work

Selected Publications:

"Instability of flat disks with respect to the formation of twisted ribbons in smectic-A monolayers," (with H. Tu), Phys. Rev. E 87, 042505 (2013).

"Theory of self-assembled smectic-A crenellated disks: Membranes with cusped edges," (with H. Tu), Phys. Rev. E 87, 032504 (2013).

"Theory of depletion-induced phase transition from chiral smectic-A twisted ribbons to semi-infinite flat membranes," (with C. N. Kaplan, H. Tu and R. B. Meyer), Phys. Rev. E 82, 021701 (2010)

"Twist penetration in single layer smectic A disks of colloidal virus particles," (with R. B. Meyer), (invited article), Liq. Cryst. 36, 1157 (2009).

"Direct measurement of the twist penetration length in a single smectic A layer of colloidal virus particles," (with E. Barry, Z. Dogic, R. B. Meyer and R. Oldenbourg), invited article, J. Phys. Chem. B 113, 3910 (2009).

"Nematic cells with quasicrystalline-patterned alignment layers," (with M. H. Schwarz), Phys. Rev. E 79, 022701 (2009).

"Nematic cells with defect-patterned alignment layers," (with A. S. Backer and A. C. Callan-Jones), Phys. Rev. E 77, 021701 (2008).

"Dynamics of the molecular orientation field coupled to ions in two-dimensional ferroelectric liquid crystals," (with J.-B. Lee and R. B. Meyer), Phys. Rev. E. 76, 021704 (2007).

"Role of electrostatics in the texture of islands in free-standing ferroelectric liquid crystal films," (with J.-B. Lee and R. B. Meyer), Phys. Rev. E. 75, 051701(2007).

"Unwinding of a strained cholesteric elastomer by disclination loop nucleation," (with A. Callan-Jones, R. B. Meyer, and A. F. Bower), Phys. Rev. E. 75, 011701 (2007).

"Techniques for the Visualization of Topological Defect Behavior in Nematic Liquid Crystals," (with V. A. Slavin, D. Laidlaw, G. Loriot and A. Callan-Jones), refereed contribution to IEEE Visualization 2006.

"Stable Polarization Gratings Recorded in Azo Dye Doped Liquid Crystals," (with S. P. Gorkhali, S. G. Cloutier, and G. P. Crawford), Appl. Phys. Lett. 88, 251113 (2006).

"Simulation and visualization of topological defects in nematic liquid crystals," (with A. Callan-Jones, G. B. Loriot, V. Slavin, S. Zhang, and D. H. Laidlaw), Phys. Rev. E. 74, 061701 (2006).

"Liquid Crystal Diffraction Gratings Using Polarization Holography Alignment Techniques," (with G. P. Crawford, J. N. Eakin, M. D. Radcliffe, and A. Callan-Jones), J. Appl. Phys. 98, 123102 (2005).

"Visualization of Topological Defects in Nematic Liquid Crystals Using Streamtubes, Streamsurfaces and Ellipsoids," (with V. A. Slavin, S. Zhang, D. Laidlaw, G. Loriot and A. Callan-Jones), VIS '04: Proceedings of the conference on Visualization '04, p. 598.21 (2004).

"Liquid crystals in random porous media: Disorder is stronger in low-density aerosols," (with D. E. Feldman), Phys. Rev. E (RC) 70, 040702 (2004).

"Zero voltage Freedericksz transition in periodically aligned liquid crystals," (with J. N. Eakin, Y. Xie, M. D. Radcliffe, and G. P. Crawford, Appl. Phys. Lett. 85, 1671 (2004)

"External and intrinsic anchoring in nematic liquid crystals: A Monte Carlo study," (with N. V. Priezjev, G. Skacej and S. Zumer), Phys. Rev. E. 68, 041709 (2003).

"Optomechanical Properties of Stretched Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal Films for Scattering Polarizer Applications," (with I. Amimori, N. V. Priezjev and G. P. Crawford), J. Appl. Phys. 93, 3248 (2003).

"Optical and Mechanical Properties of Stretched PDLC Films for Scattering Polarizers," (with I. Amimori, J. N. Eakin, N. V. Priezjev and G. P. Crawford), Digest for the Society for Information Display XXXIII, 834 (2002).

"Model of Fredericks Transition and Hysteresis Effect in Polymer Stabilized Nematic Liquid Crystal Configurations for Display Applications," (with P. A. Kossyrev, J. Qi, N. Priezjev and G. P. Crawford), Digest for the Society for Information Display XXXIII, 506 (2002).

"Coarsening Dynamics of Biaxial Nematic Liquid Crystals," (with N. Priezjev), Phys. Rev. E 66, 051705 (2002).

"Virtual Surfaces, Director Domains and the Fréedericksz Transition in Polymer Stabilized Nematic Liquid Crystals," (with P. A. Kossyrev, J. Qi, N. Priezjev and G. P. Crawford), Appl. Phys. Lett. 81, 2986 (2002).

"The Isotropic-Cholesteric Transition in Liquid-Crystalline Gels," (with R. B. Meyer), Phys. Rev. E 66, 031706 (2002).

"The Electroclinic Effect and Modulated Phases in Smectic Liquid Crystals," (with R. B. Meyer), Phys. Rev. E 65, 061704 (2002).

"Modeling Electro-Optic Performance in Polymer Stabilized Nematic Liquid Crystal Display Configurations," (with P. A. Kossyrev, J. Qi, N. Priezjev and G. P. Crawford), Proceedings of Asia Display 7, 371 (2002).

"Cluster Monte Carlo Simulations of the Nematic-Isotropic Transition," (with N. Priezjev), Phys. Rev. E 63, 062702 (2001).

"Disclination Loop Behavior near the Nematic-Isotropic Transition," (with N. Priezjev), Phys. Rev. E 64, 031710 (2001).

"Surface Extrapolation Length and Director Structures in Confined Nematics," (with N. Priezjev), Phys. Rev. E 62, 6734 (2000).

"Defect Configurations and Dynamical Behavior in a Gay-Berne Nematic Emulsion," (with J. Billeter), Phys. Rev. E 62, 711 (2000).

"Molecular Shape and Flexoelectricity," (with J. Billeter), Liq. Cryst. 27, 1151 (2000).

"Nematic Structures in Cylindrical Cavities," (with A. M. Smondyrev), Liq. Cryst. 26, 235 (1999).

"Phase-Ordering Dynamics of the Gay-Berne Nematic Liquid Crystal," (with J. Billeter, A. M. Smondyrev and G. B. Loriot), Phys. Rev. E 60, 6831 (1999).

"Simulations of Liquid Crystals," (with J. Billeter), invited article, Computers in Physics, 12, 440 (1998).

"Viscosities of the Gay-Berne Nematic Liquid Crystal," (with A. M. Smondyrev and G. B. Loriot), Phys. Rev. Lett. 75, 2340 (1995).

"Piezoelectricity of Cholesteric Elastomers," (with R. B. Meyer) J. de Phys. II 5, 877 (1995).

"Dynamics and Thermal Fluctuations in High Tc Superconductors," (with G. Vecris), Phys. Rev. B 44, 2767 (1991).

"Translational and Orientational Order of the Flux Line Lattice of a High Tc Superconductor," (with A. Houghton and A. Sudbø), J. Phys. Cond. Mat. 3, 7527 (1991).

"Ising Model in a Time-Dependent Magnetic Field," (with W. S. Lo), Phys. Rev. A 42, 7471 (1990).

"Flux Lattice Melting in High-Tc Superconductors," (with A. Houghton and A. Sudbø), Phys. Rev. B 40, 6763 (1989).

"Modulated Phases in Thin Ferroelectric Liquid-Crystal Films," (with R. G. Petschek and G. A. Hinshaw), Phys. Rev. Lett. 60, 1864 (1988).

"The Smectic C*-Smectic A Transition in Variable Thickness Liquid Crystals Films," (with S. Heinekamp, E. Fontes, E. Chen, R. Pindak and R. B. Meyer), Phys. Rev. Lett. 52, 1017(1984).

"Smectic C-A Transition in Three Dimensions," (with G. Grinstein), Phys. Rev. A 26, 2196 (1982).

"Nonlinear Elastic Theory of Smectic Liquid Crystals," (with G. Grinstein), Phys. Rev. A 26, 915 (1982).

"Anharmonic Effects in Bulk Smectic Liquid Crystals and Other `One-Dimensional Solids'," (with G. Grinstein), Phys. Rev. Lett. 47, 856 (1981).

"Two-Dimensional Ferroelectric Liquid Crystals," (with B. I. Halperin), Phys. Rev. B 19, 4614 (1979).

"Low Temperature Renormalization Group Study of the Random-Axis Model," Phys. Rev. B 19, 465 (1979).

"Spin-Glass and Ferromagnetic Behavior Induced by Random Uniaxial Anisotropy," (with E. Pytte and J. Rudnick), Phys. Rev. Lett. 40, 476 (1978).

"Momentum-Shell Recursion Relations, Anisotropic Spins, and Liquid Crystals in 2+ε Dimensions," (with D. R. Nelson), Phys. Rev. B 16, 2191 (1977).

"Vesicle shape, molecular tilt, and the suppression of necks," (with H. Jiang, G. Huber and T. R. Powers), Phys. Rev. E. 76, 031908 (2007).

research overview

Bob Pelcovits does research on theoretical liquid crystal physics, including numerical simulations and visualization.

funded research

  1. National Science Foundation MRSEC (with multiple PI’s at Brandeis and Brown), “Bioinspired Soft Materials”, 11/1/2014-10/31/20. Brown PI’s: Breuer, Oldenbourg, Pelcovits, and Powers.
  2. National Science Foundation (co-PI with Jay Tang), “Motion of Uni-flagellated Bacteria in Visco-elastic Media”, 9/1/2014-8/31/2017.