Abstract by Jonathan Ybanez
Physics and Astronomy
Group theoretical analysis of flexibility in polyhedral frameworks
Many materials are constructed at the atomic level as networks of interconnected polyhedra. The mechanical flexibility of such a framework depends on the ability of the individual polyhedra to rotate and translate without breaking apart or becoming internally distorted. Such a motion is called a rigid-unit mode (RUM). Group representation theory is useful in determining whether or not a given network permits RUMs and quantifying the structural changes induced by those RUMs. With the development of new theoretical and computational tools for detecting RUMs, we are now applying this approach to a variety of real materials in an effort to rationalize their structural properties.