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Crystalline sheets (e.g., graphene and transition metal dichalcogenides) liberated from a substrate are a paradigm for materials at criticality, because flexural phonons can fluctuate into the third dimension. Although studies of static critical behaviors (e.g., the scaledependent elastic constants) are plentiful, investigations of dynamics remain limited. Here, we use molecular dynamics to study the time dependence of the midpoint (the height center of mass) of doubly clamped nanoribbons, as prototypical graphene resonators, under a wide range of temperature and strain conditions. By treating the ribbon midpoint as a Brownian particle confined to a nonlinear potential (which assumes a doublewell shape beyond the buckling transition), we formulate an effective theory describing the ribbon's transition rate across the two wells and its oscillations inside a given well. We find that, for nanoribbbons compressed above the Euler buckling point and thermalized above a temperature at which the nonlinear effects due to thermal fluctuations become significant, the exponential term (the ratio between energy barrier and temperature) depends only on the geometry but not the temperature, unlike the usual Arrhenius behavior. Moreover, we find that the natural oscillation time for small strain shows a nontrivial scaling τ o ∼ L z 0 T − η / 4 , with L 0 being the ribbon length, z = 2 − η / 2 being the dynamic critical exponent, η = 0.8 being the scaling exponent describing scaledependent elastic constants, and T being the temperature. These unusual scale and temperaturedependent dynamics thus exhibit dynamic criticality and could be exploited in the development of graphenebased nanoactuators.more » « lessFree, publiclyaccessible full text available January 1, 2025

Free, publiclyaccessible full text available May 1, 2025

Conical surfaces pose an interesting challenge to crystal growth: A crystal growing on a cone can wrap around and meet itself at different radii. We use a diskpacking algorithm to investigate how this closure constraint can geometrically frustrate the growth of single crystals on cones with small opening angles. By varying the crystal seed orientation and cone angle, we find that—except at special commensurate cone angles—crystals typically form a seam that runs along the axial direction of the cone, while near the tip, a disordered particle packing forms. We show that the onset of disorder results from a finitesize effect that depends strongly on the circumference and not on the seed orientation or cone angle. This finitesize effect occurs also on cylinders, and we present evidence that on both cylinders and cones, the defect density increases exponentially as circumference decreases. We introduce a simple model for particle attachment at the seam that explains the dependence on the circumference. Our findings suggest that the growth of single crystals can become frustrated even very far from the tip when the cone has a small opening angle. These results may provide insights into the observed geometry of conical crystals in biological and materials applications.more » « lessFree, publiclyaccessible full text available November 1, 2024

We investigate the groundstate configurations of twodimensional liquid crystals with pfold rotational symmetry (patics) on fixed curved surfaces. We focus on the intrinsic geometry and show that isothermal coordinates are particularly convenient as they explicitly encode a geometric contribution to the elastic potential. In the special case of a cone with halfangle β, the apex develops an effective topological charge of −χ, where 2πχ = 2π(1 − sin β) is the deficit angle of the cone, and a topological defect of charge σ behaves as if it had an effective topological charge Qeff = (σ − σ2/2) when interacting with the apex. The effective charge of the apex leads to defect absorption and emission at the cone apex as the deficit angle of the cone is varied. For total topological defect charge 1, e.g., imposed by tangential boundary conditions at the edge, we find that for a disk the groundstate configuration consists of p defects each of charge +1/p lying equally spaced on a concentric ring of radius d = ( p−1 3p−1 ) 1 2p R, where R is the radius of the disk. In the case of a cone with tangential boundary conditions at the base, we find three types of groundstate configurations as a function of cone angle: (i) for sharp cones, all of the +1/p defects are absorbed by the apex; (ii) at intermediate cone angles, some of the +1/p defects are absorbed by the apex and the rest lie equally spaced along a concentric ring on the flank; and (iii) for nearly flat cones, all of the +1/p defects lie equally spaced along a concentric ring on the flank. Here the defect positions and the absorption transitions depend intricately on p and the deficit angle, which we analytically compute. We check these results with numerical simulations for a set of commensurate cone angles and find excellent agreement.more » « less

Abstract The growth and evolution of microbial populations is often subjected to advection by fluid flows in spatially extended environments, with immediate consequences for questions of spatial population genetics in marine ecology, planktonic diversity and origin of life scenarios. Here, we review recent progress made in understanding this rich problem in the simplified setting of two competing genetic microbial strains subjected to fluid flows. As a pedagogical example we focus on antagonsim, i.e., two killer microorganism strains, each secreting toxins that impede the growth of their competitors (competitive exclusion), in the presence of stationary fluid flows. By solving two coupled reaction–diffusion equations that include advection by simple steady cellular flows composed of characteristic flow motifs in two dimensions (2D), we show how local flow shear and compressibility effects can interact with selective advantage to have a dramatic influence on genetic competition and fixation in spatially distributed populations. We analyze several 1D and 2D flow geometries including sources, sinks, vortices and saddles, and show how simple analytical models of the dynamics of the genetic interface can be used to shed light on the nucleation, coexistence and flowdriven instabilities of genetic drops. By exploiting an analogy with phase separation with nonconserved order parameters, we uncover how these
genetic drops harness fluid flows for novel evolutionary strategies, even in the presence of number fluctuations, as confirmed by agentbased simulations as well. 
Conical surfaces, with a δ function of Gaussian curvature at the apex, are perhaps the simplest example of geometric frustration. We study twodimensional liquid crystals with pfold rotational symmetry (patics) on the surfaces of cones. For free boundary conditions at the base, we find both the ground state(s) and a discrete ladder of metastable states as a function of both the cone angle and the liquid crystal symmetry p. We find that these states are characterized by a set of fractional defect charges at the apex and that the ground states are in general frustrated due to effects of parallel transport along the azimuthal direction of the cone. We check our predictions for the groundstate energies numerically for a set of commensurate cone angles (corresponding to a set of commensurate Gaussian curvatures concentrated at the cone apex), whose surfaces can be polygonized as a perfect triangular or squaremesh, and find excellent agreement with our theoretical predictions.more » « less

We study the phonon modes of interacting particles on the surface of a truncated cone resting on a plane subject to gravity, inspired by recent colloidal experiments. We derive the groundstate configuration of the particles under gravitational pressure in the smallconeangle limit and find an inhomogeneous triangular lattice with spatially varying density but robust local order. The inhomogeneity has striking effects on the normal modes such that an important feature of the cone geometry, namely its apex angle, can be extracted from the lattice excitations. The shape of the cone leads to energy crossings at long wavelengths and frequencydependent quasilocalization at short wavelengths.We analytically derive the localization domain boundaries of the phonons in the limit of small cone angle and check our results with numerical results for eigenfunctions.more » « less

The buckling of thin elastic sheets is a classic mechanical instability that occurs over a wide range of scales. In the extreme limit of atomically thin membranes like graphene, thermal fluctuations can dramatically modify such mechanical instabilities. We investigate here the delicate interplay of boundary conditions, nonlinear mechanics, and thermal fluctuations in controlling buckling of confined thin sheets under isotropic compression. We identify two inequivalent mechanical ensembles based on the boundaries at constant strain (isometric) or at constant stress (isotensional) conditions. Remarkably, in the isometric ensemble, boundary conditions induce a novel longranged nonlinear interaction between the local tilt of the surface at distant points. This interaction combined with a spontaneously generated thermal tension leads to a renormalization group description of two distinct universality classes for thermalized buckling, realizing a mechanical variant of Fisherrenormalized critical exponents. We formulate a complete scaling theory of buckling as an unusual phase transition with a sizedependent critical point, and we discuss experimental ramifications for the mechanical manipulation of ultrathin nanomaterials.more » « less