Predicting the characteristics of defect transitions on curved surfaces

Siddhansh Agarwal, Sascha Hilgenfeldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The energetically optimal position of lattice defects on intrinsically curved surfaces is a complex function of shape parameters. For open surfaces, a simple condition predicts the critical size for which a central disclination yields lower energy than a boundary disclination. In practice, this transition is modified by activation energies or more favorable intermediate defect positions. Here it is shown that these transition characteristics (continuous or discontinuous, first or second order) can also be inferred from analytical, general criteria evaluated from the surface shape. A universal scale of activation energy is found, and the criteria are generalized to predict transition order as surface shape symmetry is broken. The results give practical insight into structural transitions to disorder in many cellular materials of technological and biological importance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4059-4068
Number of pages10
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 21 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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