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Leonardo Golubovic

Professor

Condensed Matter Theory

Education

Ph.D., University of Belgrade,1987 
B.Eng., University of Belgrade, 1980

Research

Realistic physical systems are comprised of an enormous number of atoms and statistical physics must be used to understand their properties. This an interesting area of research for four reasons: (1) it studies diverse physical systems such as superconductors, liquid crystals, bio-membranes, and polymers, (2) there are many new and extremely novel theoretical ideas and approaches nowadays used in this field, (3) there are a huge number of important experiments being done, and many more that could be done, and (4) the entire field stands at the interface between physics and the fields of biology, chemistry, engineering, and materials science.

"Most of my theoretical research is in the statistical physics of surfaces&interfaces occurring in condensed matter systems. I investigate fluctuations and phase transitions in bio-membrane systems. This research is interesting also for a seemingly remote field of oil-recovery in which huge bio-membrane like interfaces occur in fascinating complex fluids known as microemulsions. Also, I investigate interfaces of solids growing in the presence of atomic fluxes. Here I want to understand statistical properties of these rough interfaces, and various interfacial instabilities recently found in molecular beam epitaxy. I have applied theoretical ideas from the growing interfaces physics to resolve some difficult problems in a more traditional field of smectic liquid crystals."

Another area of my recent research is statistical physics of lines, such as bio-polymers and flux lines in superconductors. I have investigated the dynamics of flux lines moving through disordered superconductors, and classical&quantum fluctuations of long semi-flexible molecules and rods. This work is of interest in the emerging field of molecular nanotechnology.

Biomacromolecular systems, such as the DNA-cationic lipid complexes used in gene therapy applications, are inherently capable of forming interesting condensed matter structures. These complexes have exemplified novel and unusual liquid crystalline states of matter such as the unusual Sliding Phase which I have revealed and elucidated in my theoretical studies. Prominent role in this area is played by the cationic-lipid membranes supported on solid surfaces, due to the fact that naturally anionic DNA adsorbed on such membranes is highly laterally mobile.

In a recent work, I have addressed a basic physics questions: What happens with the large-scale conformations of semi-flexible polymers, such as DNA molecules, once they are adsorbed on curved, periodically structured surfaces? With my experimental colleagues, I have explored the behavior of DNAmolecules adsorbed on electrically charged, cationic-lipid membranes prepared on grooved, periodically structured substrates. We have revealed a striking ability of these periodically micro-structured membranes to stretch DNA coils.

We elucidated this phenomenon in terms of an interesting DNA localization transition prone to play a significant role in future biophysical and biotechnological investigations. As a contribution to an ongoing quest to unfold the coiled and therefore inaccessible state of DNA in its natural 3-d environment, our study initiates a new venue for controlling conformations of semi-flexible biopolymers by employing their interactions with specially structured biocompatible surfaces. On the practical side, in contrast to presently employed micro-fluidic methods, our new approach to stretch DNA coils avoids any use of fluid flows and the throughput limitations due to the difficulties in entering DNA into micro-fluidic channels. Indeed, the DNA can be easily brought in large amounts onto our periodic membranes. Importantly, to be stretched by our approach, DNA need not be confined into small spaces of micro-fluidic channels. Rather, the stretched DNA molecules are freely exposed to a larger surrounding water medium and all the molecules dissolved in it. Due to this feature, our new way to stretch polyelectrolytes may facilitate more direct, high throughput protocols and experimental studies of fundamental biological interactions between DNA and other bio-molecules.

Publications

70. “Rotating space elevators: Physics of celestial scale spinning strings”, Steven Knudsen and Leonardo Golubovic, European Physical Journal Plus 129, 242 (2014).

69. “Beyond the Young-Laplace model for cluster growth during dewetting of thin films: Effective coarsening exponents and the role of long range dewetting interactions”, Adi Constantinescu, Leonardo Golubovic, and Artem Levandovsky, Physical Review E 88, article no. 032113 – 1 through 29 (2013).

68. “Effects of Antimicrobial Peptide Revealed by Simulations: Translocation, Pore Formation, Membrane Corrugation and Euler Buckling”, Licui Chen, Nana Jia, Lianghui Gao, Weihai Fang, and Leonardo Golubovic, in the special issue on Modeling of Biological Membranes, International Journal of Molecular Sciences 14, pp. 7932-7958 (2013).

67. “Demonstrating Conservation of Angular Momentum Using Model Cars Moving Along a Rotating Rod”, Wathiq Abdul-Razzaq and Leonardo Golubovic, 
Physics Education 48, pp. 42-50 (2013).

66. “How the Antimicrobial Peptides Kill Bacteria: Computational Physics Insights”, Licui Chen, Lianghui Gao, Weihai Fang, and Leonardo Golubovic, Communications in Computational Physics 11, pp. 709-725 (2012).

65. “Interface Dynamics and Far-From-Equilibrium Phase Transitions in Multilayer Epitaxial Growth and Erosion on Crystal Surfaces: Continuum Theory Insights”, Leonardo Golubovic, Artem Levandovsky, and Dorel Moldovan, East Asian Journal on Applied Mathematics 1, pp. 297-371 (2011). This is a seventy five pages long review article on my group research of the epitaxial growth of crystals.

64. “Introductory Statistical Thermodynamics”, by Nils Dalarsson, Mariana Dalarsson, and Leonardo Golubovic, Elsevier-Academic Press; 1-st edition (December 2010), 408 pages. ISBN-10: 012384956X,ISBN-13: 978-0123849564 

Book

Introductory Statistical Thermodynamics is a textbook for a one-semester course in statistical thermodynamics for graduate students and upper-level undergraduate students in physics and engineering. The book offers a high level of detail in derivations of all equations and results. The text is self-contained and mathematically well-founded, containing a number of problems with detailed solutions to help students to grasp more difficult theoretical concepts. The book covers both traditional as well as more modern and advanced topics such as nowadays experimentally interesting Bose-Einstein condensation and statistical physics of elementary particles in early universe.

63. “Classical and Statistical Mechanics of Celestial-scale Spinning Strings: Rotating Space Elevators”, Leonardo Golubovic and Steven Knudsen, Europhysics Letters 86, 34001 (2009). The journal’s scientific editor selected our paper to be highlighted on the Europhysics Letters (EPL) web site, with free access to the paper in 2009. After its publication, our article on Rotating Space Elevators has been featured on 44 different web sites such as Phys.Org. See their article on our research at http://phys.org/news162112945.html. In 2010, our paper entered the EPL “Best of 2009” Articles Collection featuring “the most popular, innovative and progressive work published in EPL in 2009” (quote from the letter of the Executive Editor of EPL).

62. “Dislocation Dynamics and Surface Coarsening of Rippled States in the Epitaxial Growth and Erosion on (110) Crystal Surfaces,” L. Golubovic and A. Levandovsky, Physical Review E 77, 051606 (2008).

61. “Far-from-equilibrium Statistical Mechanics of Epitaxial Growth on (110) Crystal Surfaces,” L. Golubovic, in Proceedings of the XVII National Symposium on Condensed Matter Physics, Vrsac, Serbia, September 2007. pg. 29.

60. “Vertical asymmetry and the ripple-rotation transition in epitaxial growth and erosion on (110) crystal surfaces,” A. Levandovsky and L. Golubovic, Physical Review E 76, 041605 (2007).

59. “DNA Molecules on Periodically Micro-structured Lipid Membranes: Localization and Coil Stretching,” M. B. Hochrein, J. A. Leierseder, L. Golubovic, and J. O. Raedler, Physical Review E75, 021901 (2007).

58. “Interfacial States and Far-from-equilibrium Transitions in the Epitaxial Growth and Erosion on (110) Crystal Surfaces,” A. Levandovsky, L. Golubovic, and D. Moldovan, Physical Review E74, 061601 (2006).

57. “DNA Localization and Stretching on Periodically Micro-strutured Lipid Membranes,” M. B. Hochrein, J. A. Leierseder, L. Golubovic, and J. 0. Raedler, Physical Review Letters, 96, 038103 (2006).

56. “Interfacial States and Far-from-equilibrium Transitions in the Epitaxial Growth and Erosion on (110) Crystal Surfaces Role of Vertical Asymmetry,” A. Levandovsky, L. Golubovic, and D. Moldovan, Modeling of Morphological Evolution at Surfaces and Interfaces, Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings Vol. 859E, article JJ7.7(2005)

55. “Soft Condensed Matter Physics of DNA Molecules Complexed with Cationic Lipid Membranes,” L. Golubovic, Proceedings of the XVI National Symposium on Condensed Matter Physics, Sokobanja, Yugoslavia, September 2004, pg. 41. The paper covers my Invited Talk at that symposium.

54. “Epitaxial growth and erosion on (001) crystal surfaces: Far-from-equlibrium transitions, intermediary states, and vertical asymmetry,” A. Levandovsky and L. Golubovic, Physical Review B 69 (Rapid Communications), 241402-1 to 4 (2004).

53. “Finite-size thermomechanical effects in smectic liquid crystals: The vapor pressure paradox as an anharmonic phenomenon,” L. Gao and L. Golubovic Physical Review E 68, pp 041907-1 to 26 (2003). This article has been selected by the Editors for the October 15, 2003 issue of the Virtual Journal of Biological Physics Research. http://www.vjbio.org

52. “Interfaces of semi-infinite smectic liquid crystals and equations of state of infinite smectic stacks of semiflexible manifolds,” L. Gao and L. Golubovic, Physical Review E 67, pp 021708-1 to 13 (2003). This article has been selected by the Editors for the March 1, 2003 issue of the Virtual Journal of Biological Physics Research. http://www.vjbio.org

51. “Epitaxial Growth and Erosion on (011) Surfaces: Structure and Dynamics of Interfacial States,” L. Golubovic, A. Levandovsky, and D. Moldovan, Physical Review Letters 89, pp 266104-1 to 4 (2002)

50. “Smectic Phases of Semi-Flexible Manifolds: Constant Pressure Ensemble,” L. Gao and L. Golubovic, Physical Review E 66, pp 051918-1 to 13 (2002). This article has been selected by the Editors for the December 1, 2002 issue of the Virtual Journal of Biological Physics Research. http://www.vjbio.org The Virtual Journal is an edited compilation of links to the selected articles from participating publishers, covering a focused area of frontier research.

49. “Hairpin Turn Dislocations in 2-D Smectic Phases of Long Semi-flexible Polymers”, L. Golubovic, Physical Review E 84, pgs. 061901-1 through -18 (2001).

48. “Dynamics of the Euler Buckling Instability” (L. Golubovic), in Mechanisms of Surface and Microstructure Evolution in Deposited Films and Film Structures, Materials Research Society Proceedings, Vol. 627, pgs. O 5.5.1 to 12 (2001).

47. “Mechanisms of Interfacial Coarsening in Molecular Beam Epitaxy Growth on (001) surfaces”(L. Golubovic and D. Moldovan), in Growth, Evolution, and Properties of Surfaces, Thin Films, and Self-Organized Structures, Materials Research Society Proceedings, Vol. 648, pgs. P12.7.1 through 6 ( 2001).

46. “Structural Properties of the Sliding Columnar Phase in Layered Liquid Crystalline Systems” (L. Golubovic, T. C. Lubensky and C. S. O’Hern), Physical Review E 62, 1069 (2000). This work is featured, in connection to the experiments of Artzner, Zantl, Rädler and Narayanan, at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, in their ESRF Highlights 2000, see http://www.esrf.eu/UsersAndScience/Publications/Highlights/2000/scmatter/SCM3.html.

45. “Interfacial Coarsening Dynamics in Epitaxial Growth with Slope Selection” (D. Moldovan and L. Golubovic), Physical Review E 61, 6190 (2000).

44. “Flexible Polymers and Thin Rods far from Equilibrium: Buckling Dynamics” (L. Golubovic, D. Moldovan, and A. Peredera), Physical Review E 61, 1703 (2000).

43. “Buckling dynamics of tethered membranes”, (D. Moldovan and L. Golubovic), in Dynamics in Small Confining Systems V, Materials Research Society Proceedings, Vol. 543, 169 (1999).

42. “Tethered Membranes far from Equilibrium: Buckling Dynamics” (D. Moldovan and L. Golubovic), Physical Review E 60, 4377 (1999).

41.”Buckling dynamics of compressed thin sheets (membranes)”, (D. Moldovan and L. Golubovic), Physical Review Letters 82, 2884 (1999).

40. “Quasi-two-dimensional smectic states of DNA molecules intercalated between lipid membranes in multi-lamellar phases”, (L. Golubovic, D. Moldovan, M. Golubovic), in Materials Science of the Cell, Materials Research Society Proceedings, Vol. 489, 13 (1998).

39. “Dynamics of Euler buckling instability”, (L. Golubovic, D. Moldovan, A. Peredera), Physical Review Letters 81, 3387(1998).

38. “Fluctuations of quasi-two-dimensional smectics intercalated between membranes in multi lamellar phases of DNA-cationic lipid complexes”, (L. Golubovic and M. Golubovic), Physical Review Letters 80, 4341 (1998).

37. “Size Distribution of Fluid Membrane Vesicles Far from Equilibrium”, (L. Golubovic and M. Golubovic), in Statistical Mechanics in Physics and Biology, Materials Research Society Proceedings, Vol. 463, 103 (1997).

36. “Nonequilibrium size distributions of fluid membrane vesicles” (L.Golubovic and M.Golubovic), Physical Review E 56, 3219 (1997).

35. “Interfacial coarsening in epitaxial growth models without slope selection” (L. Golubovic), Physical Review Letters 78, 90 (1997).

34. “Mechanism of thermally assisted creep crack growth” (L. Golubovic and D. Moldovan), in Fracture – Instability Dynamics, Scaling and Ductile/Brittle Behavior, Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings, Vol. 409, 107 (1996), and in Materials Theory, Simulation and Parallel Algorithms, Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings, Vol. 408, 223 (1996).

33. “Nonequilibrium statistical mechanics of an ensemble of vesicles” (L. Golubovic), in Disordered Materials and Interfaces, Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings, Vol. 407, 275 (1996).

32. “Interfacial coarsening in an MBE growth without slope selection” (L. Golubovic) in Evolution of Epitaxial Structure and Morphology, Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings, Vol. 399, 257 (1996).

31. “Nature of environmentally assisted fracture nucleation and crack growth in polycrystals” (L. Golubovic, A. Peredera, M. Golubovic), Physical Review E 52, 4640 (1995).

30. ?Tang, Feng, and Golubovic reply? ( C. Tang, S. Feng, L. Golubovic), Physical Review Letters 74, 3500 (1995).

29. “Quantum Fluctuations of Flexible Chain-molecules and Rods, and Molecular Nanotechnology” ( L. Golubovic, W. Xie), Physical Review E 51, 2856 (1995).

28. “Mechanism of time-delayed fractures” (L. Golubovic, A. Peredera), Physical Review E 51, 2799 (1995).

27. “Nature of environmentally assisted fractures in polycrystals” (L. Golubovic, A. Peredera), in Fractal Aspects of Materials, Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings, Vol. 367, 107 (1995).

26.”Vesicles and passages between lamellas in La; membrane phases” (L. Golubovic), in Dynamics in Small Confining Systems, Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings, Vol. 366, 301 (1995).

25. “Passages and droplets in lamellar fluid membrane phases” (L. Golubovic), Physical Review E 50(Rapid Communications), 2419 (1994).

24. “Kadar – Parisi – Zhang model and anomalous elasticity of two- and three- dimensional smectic – A liquid crystals” (L. Golubovic, Z. G. Wang), Physical Review E 49, 2567 (1994).

23. “Dynamics and noise spectra of a driven single flux line in superconductors”, (C. Tang, S. Feng, L. Golubovic), Physical Review Letters 72, 1264 (1994).

22. “Liquid crystal equilibrium fluctuations understood by a relationship to the dynamics of growing interfaces ” (L. Golubovic), Modern Physics Letters (Reviews) 7, 1641 (1993).

21. “Anharmonic elasticity of smectics A and the Kardar – Parisi – Zhang model”, (L. Golubovic, Z. G. Wang), Physical Review Letters 69, 2535 (1992).

20. “Spinodal decomposition of the interface in a non-linear growth model with noise” (L. Golubovic, R. P. U. Karunasiri), in Interface Dynamics and Growth, Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings, Vol. 237, 199 (1992).

19. “Entropic elasticity of lamellar tethered membrane phases” (L. Golubovic, T. C. Lubensky), in Complex Fluids, Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings, Vol. 248, 69 (1992).

18. “Classical and quantum Superdiffusion in a time – dependent random potential” (L. Golubovic, S. Feng, F. A. Zeng), Physical Review Letters 67, 2115 (1991).

17. “Entropic elasticity of lamellar tethered membrane phases” (L. Golubovic, T. C. Lubensky), Physical Review A43, 6793 (1991).

16. “Spinodal decomposition of the interface in non-linear Edwards-Wilkinson model” (L. Golubovic, R. P. U. Karunasiri), Physical Review Letters 66, 3156 (1991).

15. “Rate of microcrack nucleation” (L. Golubovic, S. Feng), Physical Review A43, 5223 (1991).

14. “Reply of Feng, Golubovic and Zhang” (S.Feng, L. Golubovic, Y. C. Zhang), Physical Review Letters 66, 2177 (1991).

13. “Surface diffusion and fluctuations of growing interfaces” (L. Golubovic, R. Bruinsma), Physical Review Letters 66, 321 (1991). Reprinted in Dynamics of Fractal Surfaces, edited by F. Family and T. Vicsek (World Scientific, 1991).

12. “Dynamics of droplets in random Ising magnetic systems” (L. Golubovic, S. Feng), Physical Review B43, 972 (1991).

11. “Elastic constant C13 in lamellar tethered membrane phases” (L. Golubovic), Physical Review Letters 65, 1963 (1990).

10. “Directed wave propagation in random media – Superdiffusion and phase transition” (S. Feng, L. Golubovic, Y. C. Zhang), Physical Review Letters 65, 1028 (1990).

9. “Thermal fluctuations and phase equilibrium in microemulsions” (L. Golubovic, T. C. Lubensky), Physical Review A 41, 4343 (1990).

8. “Steric entropy and phase equilibria in microemulsions” (L. Golubovic, T. C. Lubensky), Europhysics Letters 10, 513 (1989).

7. “Nonlinear elasticity of amorphous solids” (L. Golubovic, T. C. Lubensky), Physical Review Letters 63, 1082 (1989).

6. “Fluctuations and lower critical dimensions of crystalline membranes” (J. Aronovitz, L. Golubovic, T. C. Lubensky), Journal of Physics ( France) 50, 609 (1989).

5. “Smectic elastic constants of lamellar fluid membrane phases – Crumpling effects” (L. Golubovic, T. C. Lubensky), Physical Review B 39, 12110 (1989).

4. “Partially ordered states in Ginzburg-Landau-Wilson models with cubic-type anisotropy” (L. Golubovic, D. Kostic), Physical Review B 38, 2622 (1988).

3. “Random fields and orientational order in models with a continuous energy minimum set in q- space and in magnetic systems favoring an incommensurate order” (L. Golubovic, M. Kulic), Physical Review B 37, 7582 (1988).

2. “Fluctuations in anisotropic magnetic superconductors” (L. Golubovic, M. Kulic), Physical Review B 29, 2799 (1984).

1. “Phase transitions and the ordered state in models with a continuous set of energy minima in large – N limit” (L. Golubovic) Physical Review B 27, 4488 (1983).

Awards and Honors

  • Marko Jaric Award for outstanding scientific achievements in physics, 2001
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society, named in 2005; Citation: For seminal contributions to the theory of condensed matter systems including prediction and elucidation of the properties of novel partially ordered phases in Liquid Crystal Elastomers and DNA-lipid membrane complexes.