Pathways to faceting of vesicles

Mark J. Bowick, Rastko Sknepnek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The interplay between geometry, topology and order can lead to geometric frustration that profoundly affects the shape and structure of a curved surface. In this commentary we show how frustration in this context can result in the faceting of elastic vesicles. We show that, under the right conditions, an assortment of regular and irregular polyhedral structures may be the low energy states of elastic membranes with spherical topology. In particular, we show how topological defects, necessarily present in any crystalline lattice confined to spherical topology, naturally lead to the formation of icosahedra in a homogeneous elastic vesicle. Furthermore, we show that introducing heterogeneities in the elastic properties, or allowing for non-linear bending response of a homogeneous system, opens non-trivial pathways to the formation of faceted, yet non-icosahedral, structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8088-8095
Number of pages8
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number34
StatePublished - Sep 14 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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