Dense packing and symmetry in small clusters of microspheres

Vinothan N. Manoharan, Mark T. Elsesser, David J. Pine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When small numbers of colloidal microspheres are attached to the surfaces of liquid emulsion droplets, removing fluid from the droplets leads to packings of spheres that minimize the second moment of the mass distribution. The structures of the packings range from sphere doublets, triangles, and tetrahedra to exotic polyhedra not found in infinite lattice packings, molecules, or minimum-potential energy clusters. The emulsion system presents a route to produce new colloidal structures and a means to study how different physical constraints affect symmetry in small parcels of matter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-487
Number of pages5
Issue number5632
StatePublished - Jul 25 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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