Robin Selinger

Robin Selinger

Materials Science
Contact Information


Prof. Robin Selinger joined Kent State’s Advanced Materials and Liquid Crystal Institute in 2005.  She holds bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in physics from Harvard University. Her research interests lie in theoretical/computational studies in liquid crystals and other soft materials. She works with molecular scale, mesoscale, and continuum simulation techniques, and a major unifying theme throughout her research is the study of topological defects and their role in transport, microstructure, and shape evolution. Recent work has focused on liquid crystal elastomers, a novel class of stimuli-responsive materials that can be "programmed" to undergo autonomous deformation when heated or illuminated. Other recent work focuses on "materials by design," complex defect microstructures in nematic liquid crystals driven by surface anchoring patterns.

Robin Selinger was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) in 2016. She currently serves as an elected member of the APS Council and the APS Board of Directors. She also serves as Speaker-elect of the APS Council and will serve as Speaker of the Council in 2022.


Ph.D., Physics, Harvard University, 1989.
A.M., Physics, Harvard University, 1986.
A.B. Cum Laude, Physics, Harvard-Radcliffe College, 1984.

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Robin Selinger's research has been funded by NSF-DMR, NSF-CMMI, NSF-DUE, NSF-CAREER, U.S. Navy, and the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society.


Pedro ES Silva, Ricardo Chagas, Susete N Fernandes, Pawel Pieranski, Robin LB Selinger, and Maria Helena Godinho, "Travelling colourful patterns in self-organized cellulose-based liquid crystalline structures," Communications Materials volume 2, pages 1-10, (2021).

Y. Guo, M. Jiang, S. Afghah, C. Peng, R. L. B. Selinger, O. D. Lavrentovich, and Q.-H. Wei, "Photo-Patterned Designer Disclination Networks in Nematic Liquid Crystals," Advanced Optical Materials (2021).

Cheng Long, Xingzhou Tang, Robin L. B. Selinger, Jonathan V. Selinger, "Geometry and mechanics of disclination lines in 3D nematic liquid crystals," Soft Matter 17, 2265-2278 (2021) . ArXiv preprint 

Greta Babakhanova, Youssef M. Golestani, Hend Baza, Sajedeh Afghah, Hao Yu, Michael Varga, Qi-Huo Wei, Paul Shiller, Jonathan V. Selinger, Robin Selinger*, Oleg D. Lavrentovich*,"Dynamically morphing microchannels in liquid crystal elastomer coatings containing disclinations," Journal of Applied Physics (2020) ; selected as Editor's Pick.

Robin Selinger, "Modeling Mechanical Actuation in Liquid Crystal Polymers," Physics Dept. colloquium at Case Western Reserve University, Oct 15, 2020 video 

Vianney Gimenez-Pinto, Sajedeh Afghah, Robin L. B. Selinger, "Three-dimensional modeling of chiral nematic texture evolution under electric switching," Preprint (submitted)

AJ Ferris, S Afghah, RLB Selinger, JV Selinger, C Rosenblatt, "Electric field-induced crossover from 3D to 2D topological defects in a nematic liquid crystal: experimental verification," Soft Matter 16, 642 (2020)

Sheida T Riahinasab, Amir Keshavarz, Charles N Melton, Ahmed Elbaradei, Gabrielle I Warren, Robin LB Selinger, Benjamin J Stokes, and Linda S Hirst, "Nanoparticle-based hollow microstructures formed by two-stage nematic nucleation and phase separation," Nature Communications volume 10, Article number: 894 (2019)

Sajedeh Afghah, Robin L. B. Selinger, and Jonathan V. Selinger, "Visualising the crossover between 3D and 2D topological defects in nematic liquid crystals,"  Liquid Crystals, 2018. 

Robin Selinger, conference talk at the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics, Feb 12, 2018, "Modeling liquid crystal elastomers: from auto-origami to light-driven autonomous soft robotics" (Video recording and slides.)

Robin Selinger, Physics Colloquium at Georgia Tech, Nov 6, 2017. Title: "From Microstructure to Morphology: Topological Defects and Shape Evolution in Soft Matter." (Video Recording)

Anne Helene Gelebart, Dirk Jan Mulder, Michael Varga, Andrew Konya, Ghislaine Vantomme, E. W. Meijer, Robin L. B. Selinger, and  Dirk J. Broer, "Making waves in a photoactive polymer film," Nature v. 546, p. 632, 29 June, 2017.

News related to Gelebart et al Nature publication:

- Video  

- Nature - News and Views "Materials Science: A light-fuelled wave machine", by Yanlei Yu   

- - "World first: New polymer goes for a walk when illuminated

- Chemistry World - "Polymer 'worm' is walking on sunshine"   

- C&E News - "Polymer ribbons undulate and walk in UV light"  

- Kent Wired - "Polymer wiggles toward scientific discovery"  

- Kent e-inside - "World First: New Polymer Goes for a Walk When Illuminated"   


V. Gimenez-Pinto, F. Ye,  B. Mbanga, J. V. Selinger, and R. L. B. Selinger, "Modeling out-of-plane actuation in thin-film nematic polymer networks: From chiral ribbons to auto-origami boxes via twist and topology," Scientific Reports 7, 45370 (2017) 

P. Nandigrami, B. Grove, A. Konya and R. L. B. Selinger, "Gradient-driven Diffusion and Pattern Formation in Crowded Mixtures," Phys. Rev. E 95, 022107 (2017) 

Y. Guo, S. Afghah, J. Xiang, O.D. Lavrentovich, R.L.B. Selinger, and Q.H. Wei, "Cholesteric Liquid Crystals in Rectangular Microchannels: Skyrmions and Stripes," Soft Matter 12 (29), 6312-6320 (2016) 

Andrew Konya, Vianney Gimenez-Pinto, and Robin Selinger, "Modeling Defects, Shape Evolution, and Programmed Auto-origami in Liquid Crystal Elastomers," Frontiers in Materials 3, 1-7  (2016) 

C.M. Spillman, J. Naciri, B.R. Ratna, R.L.B. Selinger, and J.V. Selinger, "Electrically Induced Twist in Smectic Liquid-Crystalline Elastomers," J. Phys. Chem. B 120 (26) 6368-6372 (2016) 

Robin Selinger,  "Modeling dynamics of shape transformation in 'blueprinted' liquid crystal elastomers," Seminar at the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics, Univ. of California at Santa Barbara, Feb. 26, 2016 (Video and slides.) 

Rebekka E. Breier, Robin L. B. Selinger, Giovanni Ciccotti, Stephan Herminghaus, and Marco G. Mazza, "Spontaneous chiral symmetry breaking in collective active motion," Physical Review E 93 (2), 022410 (2016). 

Zheng Bin, Meng Qing-Tian, Robin L. B. Selinger, Jonathan V. Selinger, Ye Fang-Fu, "Curvature-induced lipid segregation," Chinese Physics B 24, 068701 (2015)

Robin Selinger, "When Topology Drives Morphology: the Role of Defects in Shape Evolution of Soft Matter," Seminar, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, Univ. of California at Santa Barbara, Feb 4, 2014 (Video and slides.) 

Laurens T. de Haan, Vianney Gimenez-Pinto, Andrew Konya, Thanh-Son Nguyen, Julien M. N. Verjans, Carlos Sánchez-Somolinos, Jonathan V. Selinger, Robin L. B. Selinger,* Dirk J. Broer,* Albertus P.H.J. Schenning*, "Accordion-like Actuators of Multiple 3D Patterned Liquid Crystal Polymer Films," Advanced Functional Materials 24, 1251 (2014)  

Thanh-Son Nguyen, Jun Geng, Robin L. B. Selinger, and Jonathan V. Selinger, "Nematic Order on a Deformable Vesicle: Theory and Simulation," Soft Matter 9, 8314-8326 (2013).

Selinger, Robin, "Toying with Science," MRS Bulletin (September, 2013). (click on PDF)

Virtual poster, "Shape evolution of nematic elastomers  and lipid membranes:  chirality, curvature, and topological defects," presented at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, "The Mathematics of Liquid Crystals" workshop, 2013.

Yoshiki Sawa, Kenji Urayama, Toshikazu Takigawa, Vianney Gimenez-Pinto, Badel L. Mbanga, Fangfu Ye, Jonathan V. Selinger, Robin L. B. Selinger, "Shape and Chirality Transitions in Off-Axis Twist Nematic Elastomer Ribbons," Phys. Rev. E 88, 022502 (2013).

Linda S. Hirst,  Adam Ossowski,  Matthew Fraser,  Jun Geng,  Jonathan V. Selinger, and Robin L. B. Selinger, "Morphology transition in lipid vesicles due to in-plane order and topological defects," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences v. 110, (9), 3242-3247 (2013).

Robin L. Blumberg Selinger, Andrew Konya, Alex Travesset, and Jonathan V. Selinger, "Monte Carlo studies of the XY model on two dimensional curved surfaces," J. Phys. Chem B. 115 (48), 13989-13993 (2011).

Yoshiki Sawa, Fangfu Ye, Kenji Urayama,  Toshikazu Takigawa, Vianney Gimenez-Pinto, Robin L. B. Selinger, and Jonathan V. Selinger, "Shape selection of twist-nematic-elastomer ribbons," 6364-6368. In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108 (16) (2011). doi:10.1073/pnas.1017658108

N. Scott Weingarten and Robin L. B. Selinger, "Atomistic simulation studies of size effects in plasticity: compression of single- and polydomain crystals in two dimensions," Modelling Simul. Mater. Sci. Eng. 19, 015006 (2011). doi:10.1088/0965-0393/19/1/015006

Badel L. Mbanga, Fangfu Ye, Jonathan V. Selinger et al. "Modeling elastic instabilities in nematic elastomers," 051701. In Physical Review E 82 (5) (2010). doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.82.051701

Robin L. B. Selinger, Badel L. Mbanga, Jonathan V. Selinger, "Modeling liquid crystal elastomers: actuators, pumps, and robots,"In Proceedings of SPIE. 69110A-69110A-5 (2008). doi:10.1117/12.768282

R. K. Gupta, K. A. Suresh, S. Kumar, L. M. Lopatina, R. L. B. Selinger, and J. V. Selinger, “Spatiotemporal patterns in a Langmuir monolayer due to driven molecular precession,” Phys. Phys Rev. E 78, 041703 (2008). doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.78.041703

N. S. Weingarten, R. L. B. Selinger, “Size effects and dislocation patterning in two-dimensional bending,” J. Mech. Phys. Solids 55, 1182 (2007). doi:10.1016/j.jmps.2006.11.011

R. Selinger, "Simulation of Plastic Deformation and Ductile Fracture: Size/Rate/Temperature Effects," Seminar at the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics, Univ. of California at Santa Barbara, August 19, 2005. Available at .

Diana Farkas and Robin L. B. Selinger, "Atomistics of Fracture," in Handbook of Materials Modeling, Vol. 1 (Methods and Models) edited by S. Yip. (2005).

Robin L. B. Selinger, J. V. Selinger, A. P. Malanoski, and J. M. Schnur, " Visualizing chiral self-assembly," Chaos 14, S3, (2004). doi:10.1063/1.1821692

Robin L. B. Selinger, Jonathan V. Selinger, Anthony Malanoski, and Joel M. Schnur, "Shape Selection in Chiral Self-Assembly," Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 158103 (2004). doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.93.158103

Nurit Baytch, Robin L. B. Selinger, Jonathan V. Selinger, and R. Shashidhar, "Simulations of helix unwinding in ferroelectric liquid crystals," Phys. Rev. E 68, 041702 (2003). doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.68.041702

Ming Li and Robin L. B. Selinger, "Molecular dynamics simulation of dislocation instability in a stress gradient," Phys. Rev. B 67, 134108 (2003).

Robin L. B. Selinger, ``Diffusion in a smectic liquid crystal with screw dislocations,'' Phys. Rev. E. 65, 51702 (2002). doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.65.051702

Robin L. B. Selinger, B. B. Smith, and Weidong Luo, ``Dislocation Patterning and Vortex Channeling in the XY Model,'' MRS Proc. V. 653 (2001).

J. Xu, R. L. B. Selinger, J. V. Selinger, and R. Shashidhar, "Monte Carlo Simulation of Liquid-Crystal Alignment and of Chiral Symmetry-Breaking." J. Chem. Phys. 115, 4333 (2001). doi:10.1063/1.1389857

R. L. B. Selinger and J. M. Corbett, ``Dynamic Fracture in Disordered Media,'' MRS Bulletin 25, 46 (2000).

Jonathan V. Selinger, Jianling Xu, Robin L. B. Selinger, B. R. Ratna. R. Shashidhar, ``Chiral Modulations in Smectic-A Liquid Crystals Under an Electric Field,'' Phys. Rev. E 62, 666 (2000). doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.62.666

Ming Li, Brian B. Smith, Robin L. B. Selinger, ``Fingering Instability of Dislocations and Related Defects,'' Phys. Rev. Lett. 82, 2306 (1999). doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.82.2306

John M. Corbett and Robin L. B. Selinger, ``Molecular Dynamics Studies of Interfacial Crack Propagation in Heterogeneous Media,'' MRS Proceedings 539, 209 (1999).

Jianling Xu, Robin L. B. Selinger, Jonathan V. Selinger, B. R. Ratna, and R. Shashidhar, ``Monte Carlo simulation of smectic liquid crystals and the electroclinic effect: The role of molecular shape,'' Phys. Rev. E 60, 5584 (1999). doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.60.5584

M. M. Green, J. W. Park, T. Sato, A. Teramoto, S. Lifson, Robin L. B. Selinger, and J. V. Selinger, ``The Macromolecular Route to Chiral Amplification'' Angewandte Chemie 111, 3306 (1999).;2-C/abstract

J. V. Selinger, R. L. B. Selinger, S K. Jha, and M. M. Green, ``A Chiral Polymeric Analogy to a One Dimensional Paramagnetic Material,'' Chirality 10, 41 (1998). doi:10.1002/chir.8

J. V. Selinger and R. L. B. Selinger, ``Cooperative Chiral Order in Polyisocyanates: New Statistical Problems.'' Macromolecules 31, 2488-2492 (1998). doi:10.1021/ma971783k

J. V. Selinger and R. L. B. Selinger, ``Chiral Order in Copolymers of Chiral and Achiral Units,'' Phys. Rev. E, 55, 1728 (1997). doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.55.1728

J. V. Selinger and R. L. B. Selinger, "Theory of chiral order in random copolymers," Phys. Rev. Lett. 76, 58 (1996). doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.76.58

D. Liu, R. L. B. Selinger, and J . D. Weeks, "Modelling Organic Molecular Thin Films: A Reduced Intermolecular Potential for Copper Phthalocyanine," J. Chem. Phys. 105, 4751 (1996). doi:10.1063/1.472801

R. L. B. Selinger, "Stress-assisted Kosterlitz-Thouless dislocation nucleation: the statistical physics of plastic flow," in Fracture: Instability Dynamics, Scaling, and Ductile/Brittle Behavior, R.L.B. Selinger, J.J. Mecholsky, A. E. Carlsson, and E. R. Fuller, editors, Materials Research Society (Pittsburgh) 1996.

J. V. Selinger and R . L. B. Selinger, ``Cooperative Chiral Order in Random Copolymers,'' Mol. Cryst. Liq. Cryst. 288, 33 (1996). doi:10.1080/10587259608034582

J. V. Selinger and R. L. B. Selinger, "Theory of chiral defects in Langmuir monolayers," Phys. Rev. E Rapid Comm., 51, R860 (1995). doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.51.R860

M. F. Sharlowe, R. L. B. Selinger, and W. M. Gelbart, "Cell model and computer simulation studies of layered and hexagonal states of aligned, hard disks versus rods," J. Phys. Chem. 99, 2907 (1995). doi:10.1021/j100009a055

J. D. Weeks, R. L. B. Selinger, and J. Q. Broughton, "Self-consistent treatment of repulsive and attractive forces in non-uniform liquids," Phys. Rev. Lett. 75, 2694 (1995). doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.75.2694

R. L. B. Selinger, Ruth Lynden-Bell, and W. M. Gelbart, "Stress-induced failure and melting of ideal solids," J. Chem. Phys. 98, 9808 (1993). doi:10.1063/1.464359

R. L. B. Selinger, Z.-G. Wang, and W. M. Gelbart, "Fracture at Finite Temperature: a Statistical-thermodynamic approach," p. 501, Complex Fluids, eds. E. B. Sirota, D. Weitz, T. Witten, and J. Israelachvili, Materials Research Society (Pittsburgh) 1992.

Z.-G. Wang, U. Landman, R. L. B. Selinger, and W. M. Gelbart, "Molecular dynamics study of elasticity and failure of ideal solids," Phys. Rev. B 44, 378-381 (1991). doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.44.378

R. L. B. Selinger, Z.-G. Wang, W. M. Gelbart, and A . Ben-Shaul, "Statistical-thermodynamic approach to fracture," Phys. Rev. A 43, 4396-4400 (1991). doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.43.4396

R. L. B. Selinger, Z.-G. Wang, and W. M. Gelbart, "Effect of temperature and small-scale defects on the strength of solids," J. Chem. Phys. 95, 9128-9141 (1991). doi:10.1063/1.461192

W. M. Gelbart, R. L. B. Selinger, and Z. G. Wang, "Solids under stress: the statistical mechanics of failure", in Lectures on Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (World Scientific, 1991), edited by M. Lopez de Haro and C. Varea.

R. L. B. Selinger and H. E. Stanley, "Percolation of interacting diffusing particles," Phys. Rev. A 42, 4845-4852 (1990). doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.42.4845

S. Havlin, M. Schwartz, R. L. B. Selinger, A. Bunde, and H. E. Stanley, "Universality classes for diffusion in the presence of correlated spatial disorder," Phys. Rev. A 40, 1717 (1989). doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.40.1717

R. L. B. Selinger, J. Nittmann, and H. E. Stanley, "Inhomogeneous diffusion-limited aggregation," Phys. Rev. A 40, 2590-2601 (1989). doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.40.2590

R. L. B. Selinger, S. Havlin, F. Leyvraz, M. Schwartz, and H. E. Stanley, "Diffusion in the presence of quenched random bias fields: a two-dimensional generalization of the Sinai model," Phys. Rev. A (Rapid Communications) 40, 6755-6758 (1989). doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.40.6755

S. Havlin, R. L. B. Selinger, J. Schwartz, H. E. Stanley, and A. Bunde, "Random multiplicative processes and transport in structures with correlated spatial disorder," Phys. Rev. Lett. 61, 1438-1441 (1988). doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.61.1438

R. L. Blumberg, H. E. Stanley, A. Geiger, and P. Mausbach, "Connectivity of hydrogen bonds in liquid water," J. Chem. Phys. 80, 5230-5241 (1984). doi:10.1063/1.446593

H. E. Stanley, R. L. Blumberg, A. Geiger, P. Mausbach, and J. Teixeira, "The `locally-structured transient gel' model of water structure," J. de Physique C7, 13-30 (1984). doi:10.1051/jphyscol:1984701

A. Geiger, P. Mausbach, J. Schnitker, R. L. Blumberg, and H. E. Stanley, "Structure and dynamics of the hydrogen bond network in water by computer simulations," J. de Physique C7, 3-12 (1984). doi:10.1051/jphyscol:1984702

H. E. Stanley, K. Kang, S. Redner, and R. L. Blumberg, "Novel superuniversal behavior of a random-walk model," Phys. Rev. Lett. 51, 1223-1226 (1983). doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.51.1223

H. E . Stanley, R. L. Blumberg, and A. Geiger, "Gelation models of hydrogen bond networks in liquid water," Phys. Rev. B 28, 1626-1629 (1983). doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.28.1626

H. E. Stanley, J. Teixeira, A. Geiger, and R. L. Blumberg, "Interpretation of the unusual behavior of H_2O and D_2O at low temperature, Physica A 106, 260-277 (1981). doi:10.1016/0378-4371(81)90224-7

R. L. Blumberg, J. Shlifer, and H. E. Stanley, "Monte Carlo tests of universality in a correlated-site percolation problem," J. Phys. A: Math. Gen. 13, L147-L152 (1980). doi:10.1088/0305-4470/13/5/007

Books/Journals Edited

R. L. B. Selinger, J. J. Mecholsky, A. E. Carlsson, and E. R. Fuller, editors, Fracture: Instability Dynamics, Scaling, and Ductile/Brittle Behavior, Materials Research Society Proc. 409, (Pittsburgh, 1996).

G. Beltz, R. L. B. Selinger, K.-S. Kim, and M. P. Marder, editors, Fracture and Ductile vs. Brittle Behavior--Theory, Modelling and Experiment, Materials Research Society Proc. 539, (Pittsburgh, 1999).

L. P. Kubin, R. L. B. Selinger, J. L. Bassani, and K. Cho, Multiscale Modeling of Materials-2000, Materials Research Society Proc. 653, (Pittsburgh, 2001).

Robin Selinger and Diana Farkas, guest editors, MRS Bulletin, May 2000.

  • Computational materials science; molecular scale and mesoscale simulation techniques applied to both hard and soft condensed matter
  • Liquid crystals: phase behavior, transport, and microstructure
  • Chirality in soft condensed matter
  • Mechanics governing shape selection in chiral lipid membranes and nematic elastomers
  • Finite element elastodynamics simulation algorithms



Full Professor, Chemical Physics Interdisciplinary Program, Kent State University, July, 2005-present.

Associate Professor, Catholic University of America, Department of Physics, 2000-2005;

Assistant Professor 1996-2000; Adjunct Assistant Professor, Fall 1995. Tenure awarded in 2001.

Sabbatical visitor, National Inst. of Standards and Technology, summer 2003.

Sabbatical visitor, Naval Research Laboratory, Fall 2002-Spring 2003.

Postdoctoral fellow, National Institute of Standards and Technology 1994-5. Advisor: Robb Thomson.

Postdoctoral fellow, Institute for Physical Science and Technology, University of Maryland, 1992-4. Advisor: John Weeks.

Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Chemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, 1989-92. Advisor: William Gelbart.


Liquid Crystal, Computational Materials Science, Theory And Simulation, Soft Matter Theory, K-12 Outreach, responsive materials, active matter

Research Institutes and Initiatives

Advanced Materials and Liquid Crystal Institute, Brain Health Research Institute