A simple landscape of metastable state energies for two-dimensional cellular matter

Sangwoo Kim, Sascha Hilgenfeldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mechanical behavior of cellular matter in two dimensions can be inferred from geometric information near its energetic ground state. Here it is shown that the much larger set of all metastable state energies is universally described by a systematic expansion in moments of the joint probability distribution of size (area) and topology (number of neighbors). The approach captures bounds to the entire range of metastable state energies and quantitatively identifies any such state. The resulting energy landscape is invariant across different classes of energy functionals, across simulation techniques, and across system polydispersities. The theory also finds a threshold in tissue adhesion beyond which no metastable states are possible. Mechanical properties of cellular matter in biological and technological applications can thus be identified by visual information only.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-242
Number of pages6
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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