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Issue 1, 2019
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Twist renormalization in molecular crystals driven by geometric frustration

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Abstract

Symmetry considerations preclude the possibility of twist or continuous helical symmetry in bulk crystalline structures. However, as has been shown nearly a century ago, twisted molecular crystals are ubiquitous and can be formed by about 1/4 of organic substances. Despite its ubiquity, this phenomenon has so far not been satisfactorily explained. In this work we study twisted molecular crystals as geometrically frustrated assemblies. We model the molecular constituents as uniaxially twisted cubes and examine their crystalline assembly. We exploit a renormalization group (RG) approach to follow the growth of the rod-like twisted crystals these constituents produce, inquiring in every step into the evolution of their morphology, response functions and residual energy. The gradual untwisting of the rod-like frustrated crystals predicted by the RG approach is verified experimentally using silicone rubber models of similar geometry. Our theory provides a mechanism for the conveyance of twist across length-scales observed experimentally and reconciles the apparent paradox of a twisted single crystal as a finite size effect.

Graphical abstract: Twist renormalization in molecular crystals driven by geometric frustration

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Article information


Submitted
24 Jun 2018
Accepted
15 Nov 2018
First published
10 Dec 2018

Soft Matter, 2019,15, 116-126
Article type
Paper
Author version available

Twist renormalization in molecular crystals driven by geometric frustration

A. Haddad, H. Aharoni, E. Sharon, A. G. Shtukenberg, B. Kahr and E. Efrati, Soft Matter, 2019, 15, 116
DOI: 10.1039/C8SM01290C

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