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We describe experimental investigations of the structure of two-dimensional spherical crystals. The crystals, formed by beads self-assembled on water droplets in oil, serve as model systems for exploring very general theories about the minimum-energy configurations of particles with arbitrary repulsive interactions on curved surfaces. Above a critical(More)
We propose and analyze an effective free energy describing the physics of disclination defects in particle arrays constrained to move on an arbitrary two-dimensional surface. At finite temperature the physics of interacting disclinations is mapped to a Laplacian Sine-Gordon Hamiltonian suitable for numerical simulations. We then specialize to the case of a(More)
Mesoscale objects with unusual structural features may serve as the analogues of atoms in the design of larger-scale materials with novel optical, electronic or mechanical behaviour. In this paper we investigate the structural features and the equilibrium dynamics of micrometre-scale spherical crystals formed by polystyrene particles adsorbed on the surface(More)
The production of strings (disclination lines and loops) has been observed by means of the Kibble mechanism of domain (bubble) formation in the isotropic-nematic phase transition of the uniaxial nematic liquid crystal 4-cyano-4'-n-pentylbiphenyl. The number of strings formed per bubble is about 0.6. This value is in reasonable agreement with a numerical(More)
Engineering synthetic materials that mimic the remarkable complexity of living organisms is a fundamental challenge in science and technology. We studied the spatiotemporal patterns that emerge when an active nematic film of microtubules and molecular motors is encapsulated within a shape-changing lipid vesicle. Unlike in equilibrium systems, where defects(More)
Many systems in nature and the synthetic world involve ordered arrangements of units on two-dimensional surfaces. We review here the fundamental role payed by both the topology of the underlying surface and its detailed curvature. Topology dictates certain broad features of the defect structure of the ground state but curvature-driven energetics controls(More)
We present an analysis of extensive large-scale Monte Carlo simulations of self-avoiding fixed-connectivity membranes for sizes (number of faces) ranging from 512 to 17672 (triangular) plaquettes. Self-avoidance is implemented via impenetrable plaquettes. We simulate the impenetrable plaquette model in both three and four bulk dimensions. In both cases we(More)
We present the results of a high-statistics Monte Carlo simulation of a phantom crystalline (fixed-connectivity) membrane with free boundary. We verify the existence of a flat phase by examining lattices of size up to 128 2. The Hamiltonian of the model is the sum of a simple spring pair potential, with no hard-core repulsion, and bending energy. The only(More)
We examine the scaling of geodesic correlation functions in two-dimensional gravity and in spin systems coupled to gravity. The numerical data support the scaling hypothesis and indicate that the quantum geometry develops a non-perturbative length scale. The existence of this length scale allows us to extract a Hausdorff dimension. In the case of pure(More)