Daniel A. Beller

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Brown University School of Engineering


I am a theoretical and computational physicist with research interests in soft matter and biological/biomaterial physics. The interplay of topological defects, nontrivial boundary geometries, and novel bulk material configurations is a common theme in much of my work. I also have an interest in biological population genetics and its connections with problems in statistical physics. I have worked in Physics, Applied Math, and Engineering Departments, and in close collaborations with experimentalists from Physics, Materials Science, and Chemical Engineering backgrounds.

Research Gallery

In nematic liquid crystals, disclination loops encircle colloidal inclusions and microposts, and can guide elasticity-mediated colloidal organization.


In the smectic liquid crystal phase, molecules are ordered in layers of single molecule thickness. When the boundaries demand that the layers curve, equal layer spacing is accommodated through self-organized arrays of focal conic domains, which are layer geometries organized around ellipse-hyperbola defect pairs.

Topographic cues from the substrate direct focal conic domain organization.


"Smectic flower" assemblies can be accommodated by a combination of focal conic domains and spherical patches.


Rows of incomplete, elliptic-hyperbolic focal conic domains arise upon cooling the nematic into the smectic phase.

In 2D colloidal crystals of cylindrical topology, separation of dislocation pairs (green+magenta sites) changes the crystal's chirality (or helical pitch), radius, and tube axis orientation.


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