Screw symmetry in columnar crystals.

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11 Citations (SciVal)


We show that the optimal packing of hard spheres in an infinitely long cylinder yields structures characterized by a screw symmetry. Each packing can be assembled by stacking a basic unit cell ad infinitum along the length of the cylinder with each subsequent unit cell rotated by the same twist angle with respect to the previous one. In this paper we quantitatively describe the nature of this screw operation for all such packings in the range and also briefly discuss their helicity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4070-4077
Number of pages8
JournalPhilosophical Magazine
Issue number31-33
Early online date12 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • hard sphere packing
  • screw symmetry
  • phyllotaxis


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