In this paper, we present operator splitting methods for solving the phase field crystal equation which is a model for the microstructural evolution of two-phase systems on atomic length and diffusive time scales. A core idea of the methods is to decompose the original equation into linear and nonlinear subequations, in which the linear subequation has a closed-form solution in the Fourier space. We apply a nonlinear Newton-type iterative method to solve the nonlinear subequation at the implicit time level and thus a considerably large time step can be used. By combining these subequations, we achieve the first-and second-order accuracy in time. We present numerical experiments to show the accuracy and efficiency of the proposed methods. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.