Open AccessThis article is

- freely available
- re-usable

Review

# Symmetry-Break in Voronoi Tessellations

^{1}Department of Mathematics, University of Reading, Whiteknights, PO Box 220, Reading RG6 6AX, UK

^{2}Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Earley Gate, PO Box 243, Reading RG6 6BB, UK

^{3}Department of Physics, University of Bologna, Viale Berti Pichat 6/2, 40127 Bologna, Italy

Received: 4 July 2009 / Accepted: 6 August 2009 / Published: 20 August 2009

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers: Symmetry Concepts and Applications)

Download PDF [926 KB, uploaded 20 August 2009]

# Abstract

We analyse in a common framework the properties of the Voronoi tessellations resulting from regular 2D and 3D crystals and those of tessellations generated by Poisson distributions of points, thus joining on symmetry breaking processes and the approach to uniform random distributions of seeds. We perturb crystalline structures in 2D and 3D with a spatial Gaussian noise whose adimensional strength is α and analyse the statistical properties of the cells of the resulting Voronoi tessellations using an ensemble approach. In 2D we consider triangular, square and hexagonal regular lattices, resulting into hexagonal, square and triangular tessellations, respectively. In 3D we consider the simple cubic (SC), body-centred cubic (BCC), and face-centred cubic (FCC) crystals, whose corresponding Voronoi cells are the cube, the truncated octahedron, and the rhombic dodecahedron, respectively. In 2D, for all values α>0, hexagons constitute the most common class of cells. Noise destroys the triangular and square tessellations, which are structurally unstable, as their topological properties are discontinuous in α=0. On the contrary, the honeycomb hexagonal tessellation is topologically stable and, experimentally, all Voronoi cells are hexagonal for small but finite noise with α<0.12. Basically, the same happens in the 3D case, where only the tessellation of the BCC crystal is topologically stable even against noise of small but finite intensity. In both 2D and 3D cases, already for a moderate amount of Gaussian noise (α>0.5), memory of the specific initial unperturbed state is lost, because the statistical properties of the three perturbed regular tessellations are indistinguishable. When α>2, results converge to those of Poisson-Voronoi tessellations. In 2D, while the isoperimetric ratio increases with noise for the perturbed hexagonal tessellation, for the perturbed triangular and square tessellations it is optimised for specific value of noise intensity. The same applies in 3D, where noise degrades the isoperimetric ratio for perturbed FCC and BCC lattices, whereas the opposite holds for perturbed SCC lattices. This allows for formulating a weaker form of the Kelvin conjecture. By analysing jointly the statistical properties of the area and of the volume of the cells, we discover that also the cells shape heavily fluctuates when noise is introduced in the system. In 2D, the geometrical properties of n-sided cells change with α until the Poisson-Voronoi limit is reached for α>2; in this limit the Desch law for perimeters is shown to be not valid and a square root dependence on n is established, which agrees with exact asymptotic results. Anomalous scaling relations are observed between the perimeter and the area in the 2D and between the areas and the volumes of the cells in 3D: except for the hexagonal (2D) and FCC structure (3D), this applies also for infinitesimal noise. In the Poisson-Voronoi limit, the anomalous exponent is about 0.17 in both the 2D and 3D case. A positive anomaly in the scaling indicates that large cells preferentially feature large isoperimetric quotients. As the number of faces is strongly correlated with the sphericity (cells with more faces are bulkier), in 3D it is shown that the anomalous scaling is heavily reduced when we perform power law fits separately on cells with a specific number of faces.*Keywords:*Voronoi tessellation; numerical simulations; random geometry; symmetry break; topological stability; Poisson point process; Desch law; Lewis law; cubic crystals; simple cubic; face-centred cubic; body-centred cubic; Gaussian noise; anomalous scaling; isoperimetric quotient; fluctuations; Kelvin's conjecture; Kepler's conjecture; Kendall’s conjecture

*This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.*

# Related Articles

# Article Metrics

### For more information on the journal, click here

# Comments

[Return to top]*Symmetry*EISSN 2073-8994 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert