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# Wallpaper Groups:

A Short Project

James Waddington, Katie Rue, Chan Pong Lei Mathematics 191: Section 2 21 March 2013

Introduction

Wallpaper groups are a mathematical structure which give information about symmeties of a repetative pattern such as what would be found on wallpaper, hence the name. They can be used to build surfaces through quotients. In this paper we describe properties of the symmetries themselves and the structure of the groups as well as the properties of the surfaces they generate.

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2.1

## Classication of Wallpaper Groups

Basic Denitions

Denition 2.1. A tiling T of a plane is a collection of closed subsets, called the tiles of T , of the plane such that the union of all tiles covers the whole plane, and the intersection of any two tiles contains only the boundary points of them. Remark 2.1. The plane here can be referred to the usual Euclidean plane R2 , the hyperbolic plane H2 , the two-dimensional sphere S2 , or even the projective plane RP2 . The tiling corresponding to each plane is then referred to as the (euclidean) tiling, the hyperbolic tiling, the spherical tiling and the elliptic tiling. We will be focusing on tilings, in particular wallpaper patterns, of the euclidean plane simply because the group of symmetries of such pattern can be classiable. Denition 2.2. When each tile is a congruent regular polygon, we call the tiling a regular tiling. Moreover, if each tile can be translated onto another tile, then we call the tiling W a wallpaper pattern. The group of symmetry of W is called the wallpaper group of W . An equivalent way to dene the wallpaper group is: G is a wallpaper group if it is a subgroup of the group of isometries of R2 , whose translation subgroup is generated by two independent translation, i.e., two linearly independent vectors. Since the group of isometries of R2 is a semidirect product T R2 O (2)

O(2), T is a normal subgroup of G, we expect that the quotient group G / T , which is isomorphic to a

subgroup of O(2), will reveal some rotational and reectional symmetries of the wallpaper pattern. Denition 2.3. We call the quotient group G0 = G / T the point group of the wallpaper group G.

2.2

## Lemma 2.1. The point group, G0 , of a wallpaper group is nite. 1

Proof. Consider the translation group T , whose basis is {t1 , t2 } where T = {nt1 + mt2 |n, m} Since T is generated by {t1 , t2 }, each vector must have a norm, which is greater than or equal to min{|t1 |, |t2 |}. Thus there exists a vector of minimal length, v T , with minimal length, . By the archimedean property there exists an integer, N such that N > r, where r is the radius of any circle, C. T contains only nitely many vectors inside any circle, C, since T is a subset of R2 and for any vector, v, its minimum length in the lattice is not unique. For example, the vector v has the same length as v. Let C be centered at the origin and contain t1 and t2 . There are only nitely pairs of elements of T that occurs as images of t1 and t2 under G0 . Since G0 is a subgroup of O2 (R), the elements of G0 give permutations of the interior of C. Since {t1 , t2 } is a basis of R2 , any element of G0 can be determined by {t1 , t2 }, so G0 is nite.  Theorem 2.1. Let G0 be a point group for a wallpaper group, G. Then G0 is isomorphic to one of the following groups: C1 , C2 , C3 , C4 , C6 , D1 , D2 , D3 , D4 and D6 . Proof. By the above lemma, G0 must be nite. Claim 1. G0 must be isomorphic to either Cn or Dn for some n Z. This is true since for any matrix, A that exists in G0 , det( A) = 1 or 1 since G0 is a subgroup of O2 (R) If det( A) = 1, then A is an element of SO2 (R) which implies that A is a rotation. If det( A) = 1, then A is an element of O2 (R)/SO2 (R) which implies that A is a reection. Thus G0 must be isomorphic to Cn if det( A) = 1 and to Dn if det( A) = 1. Now we nd all possible values of n. The cyclic groups is a rotation with r, with the minimal possible angle = basis, the matrix for r of a cyclic group is r would be
a b c d cos sin sin cos 2 n

## . With respect to the basis of T , {t1 , t2 }, the matrix for

where a, b, c, d C Since the two matrices are of the same linear transformation, we get
1 1 2 , 2 , 0 , where 0 2 . Thus = 2 3 , 2 , 3 , , 2

2 n .

So

## n {1, 2, 3, 4, 6}. Thus, G0 must be isomorphic to Cn and Dn for where n = 1, 2, 3, 4, 6. 

2.3

Crystallographic Notation

Each wallpaper group is named by a combination of the letters p, c, m, g and the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 6. We will dene what these symbols mean. Denition 2.4. The translation lattice T = {mt1 + nt2 | m, n Z} is said to be primitive if inside the basic parallelogram with vertices 0, t1 , t2 and t1 + t2 , there is no other point lying in it. The letter p is used to referred to a primitive (translation) lattice.

T is said to be centered if the center of the basic parallelogram is also a lattice point (so it is not primitive). The letter c is used to referred to a centered lattice. As shown in the theorem above, G can only have rotation subgroup of order 2, 3, 4 and 6. The number 2, 3, 4, 6 is to indicate which rotation subgroup a wallpaper contains. The number 1 means identity. Because of this, the symbol 1 may be omitted in the name of some wallpaper group. Finally, m (mirror) is used to denote reection, and g is used to denote glide reection. Denition 2.5. Given the two generators t1 , t2 R2 , we can dene ve different types of lattices which are consistent with the crystallographic restriction: (without loss of generality, let t1 t2 ) 1. Oblique: t1 < t2 < t1 t2 < t1 + t2 2. Rectangular: t1 < t2 < t1 t2 = t1 + t2 3. Centered Rectangular: t1 < t2 = t1 t2 < t1 + t2 4. Square: t1 = t2 < t1 t2 = t1 + t2 5. Hexagonal: t1 = t2 = t1 t2 < t1 + t2 Remark 2.2. There is one more possibility: the rhombic type t1 = t2 < t1 t2 < t1 + t2 . By letting t1 = t1 , t2 = t1 t2 , we can verify that t1 < t2 = t1 t2 < t1 + t2 which coincides with the centered rectangular type of lattice. We prefer to use the terminology centered rectangular instead of rhombic because we can immediately tell it is related to the wallpaper group of centered lattice type (i.e., cm and cmm). Observation 1. We can easily verify that the lattice does form the shape as its name called. For example, t1 t2 = t1 + t2 implies that t1 , t2 = 0, so it forms a rectangle. When t1 = t2 = t1 t2 , it is an equilaterial triangle. If we rotate it about a vertex, we get a hexagon. Observation 2. The oblique lattice is the most general type of lattice because it has no constraint on how one vector needs to be equal to another vector. All the other four types are special cases of the oblique lattice. Moreover, the rectangular lattice is a special case of square lattice and the centered rectangular lattice is a special case of hexagonal lattice (by checking the equal sign). What it follows is that if one lattice is a special type of a more general lattice, the symmetry in the general case will automatically carry to the special case. 3

2.4

## Classication of Wallpaper Groups

After knowing the ve possible translation lattices and the ten possible point groups for a wallpaper group, we almost get all the ingredients to classify all possible wallpaper groups. What we have to illustrate is how the reection and glide reection act. We will do the classication by specifying the generators of each wallpaper group, and then show that none of them are isomorphic to each other, and nally there is no more wallpaper group. Case 1: Oblique lattice The only point groups which preserves the oblique lattice are C1 and C2 . We have the following wallpaper group (p1) G is generated by t1 and t2 . (p2) G is generated by t1 , t2 and a half turn r /2 . Case 2: Rectangular lattice The point groups which preserves the rectangular lattice are C1 , C2 , D1 and D2 . For C1 and C2 , we get no further point groups. We examine what group we can get from D1 and D2 : (pm) G is generated by t1 , t2 and a horizontal reection f t1 . (pg) G is generated by t1 , t2 and a horizontal glide reection gt1 . (pmm) G is generated by t1 , t2 , a half turn, a horizontal reection f t1 and a vertical reection f t2 (pmg) G is generated by t1 , t2 , a half turn, a horizontal reection f t1 and a vertical glide reection gt2 (pgg) G is generated by t1 , t2 , a half turn, a horizontal glide reection gt1 and a vertical glide reection gt2 . Case 3: Centered rectangular lattice The point groups which preserves the centered rectangular lattice will be the same as those which preserves the rectangular lattice. The different is a reection in the centered rectangular lattice may not across its an axis. (cm) G consists of T and a reection not across an axis. (cmm) G consists of T , a half turn, and a reection across one axis and a reection not across an axis.

Case 4: Square Lattice The point groups which preserves the square lattice are C1 , C2 , C4 , D1 , D2 , D4 . We get new wallpaper groups from C4 and D4 . (p4) G generated by t1 , t2 , and a rotation by (p4m) G generated by t1 , t2 , a rotation by (p4g) G generated by t1 , t2 , a rotation by Case 5: Hexagonal Lattice The point groups which preserves the square lattice are C1 , C2 , C3 , C6 , D1 , D2 , D3 , D6 . We get new wallpaper groups from C3 , C6 , D3 and D6 . (p3) G generated by t1 , t2 , and a rotation by
2 3 2 3 , 2 3 , 4, 4, 4

## and a glide reection.

(p3m1) G is generated by t1 , t2 , a rotation by (p31m) G is generated by t1 , t2 , a rotation by (p6) G generated by t1 , t2 , and a rotation by (p6m) G generated by t1 , t2 , a rotation by
3,

and a reection

## Wallpaper Groups that Act Freely on the Euclidean Plane

Denition 3.1. A wallpaper group, G acts freely on the Euclidean plane if for all G and all x R2 , ( x ) = x, implies that = Id. A wallpaper group with a xed point does not act freely on the Euclidean Plane. Claim 2. Wallpaper groups that act freely on the Euclidean Plane are groups composed of glide reections which is a reection composed with a translation, or only translations. Thus, the wallpaper groups that do not act freely on the Euclidean Plane must be composed of only rotations and reections. Proof. For every wallpaper group, G, its action on a point x R2 will be of the form Ax + b where A is the matrix of the rotation/reection of G0 , the corresponding point group to G, and b is the translation vector of G in T . Thus, wallpaper groups that are composed only of rotations and reections must be of the form Ax where vector b = 0 since there are no translations in G. Take the point x = (0, 0), the origin. Then, the group action on x is Ax = 0 for all rotation/reection subgroups A G. Thus, the origin is a xed point, which implies that G does not act freely on the Euclidean plane. 5

Since for all n > 1, there exists a rotation in Cn , Dn , we only need to check the wallpaper groups whose point groups are either C1 or D1 , which are p1, pm, pg, cm. We check if any of these point groups contain a reection, since if there exists a reection in the group, the corresponding wallpaper group is not free on the Euclidean plane. Claim 3. Wallpaper groups pm and cm contain reections that are not glide translations, and p1 and pg contain glide reections or only translations. Proof. Let {t1 , t2 } be the basis of the translation group T . Then, the wallpaper group pm is generated by t1 , t2 , and
1 0 0 1

01 10

## , 0 Thus any point on R2 , once acted on by

cm is reected in the direction of t2 , and is not then translated. The wallpaper group p1 is generated by t1 and t2 . Thus, p1 is composed of only translations. The wallpaper group pg is generated by t1 , t2 , and
1 0 0 1 1 ,2 t1 .Thus a point on R2 , once acted on by pg, is reected in the t1 direction, and then translated

by 1 2 t1 . Thus pg is composed of glide reections. Since pm, cm contain reections not composed with translations, p1 is only composed of translations, and pg are composed of glide reections, the only wallpaper groups that act freely on the Euclidean plane are p1 and pg. Thus all other 15 wallpaper groups do not act freely on the Euclidean plane.

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4.1

## Geometry of Quotients by Wallpaper groups.

Calculation of Euler Characteristic of Quotient
In this section we will calculate the Euler characteristic of a surface gen-

## Figure 1: Sphere Mapping 

erated by modding out R2 by a wallpaper group. We start with a couple lemmas. Lemma 4.1. The Euler characteristic of a spherical tiling is positive. To be vague in this case an orbifold is what you get when you mod R2 by the wallpaper group. Proof. Excised for space.

Lemma 4.2. Consider a regular tiling of the plane, where each region is bounded, then the number of edges, vertices, faces inside a circular region is proportional to the area of the region. Furthermore they are proportional to the square 6

of the radius. Proof. We note that the second statement follows from the rst from the equation for the circle: A = r2 . We have that each face takes up a set area, thus as the area increases the number of faces increase proportional to the area. We have that the number of edges and vertices increase with the number of faces, as the tiles are of xed size. Thus they are proportional to the area as well. Therefore the number of edges vertices increases proportionally to the area of the circular region. Theorem 4.1. The Euler characteristic of a surface which is the quotient of R2 by a wallpaper group is zero. We give a proof due to John H. Conway. Proof. Consider a wallpaper group, G. Consider a plan with a tiling with the symmetry corresponding to G. Consider a circular region, P of the plane of radius r R+ , and ignore everything outside of this region, then wrap this region over a sphere using stereographic projection, as in gure 1. Since the number of faces, edges and vertices is proportional, there exist constants f R, e R, v R, such that f r2 , e r2 and v r2 are close to the number of faces, edges and vertices, denoted F, E and V , in the bounded region respectively. Consider error terms V r2 v, E r2 e, and F r2 f , since we have additional vertices in copies of the fundamental region which intersect the boundary of P. SInce the perimeter of the circle is 2 r, the errors are proportional to the radius. So we have that:

(V r 2 v ) ( E r 2 e ) + ( F r 2 f ) < 2 r .

We have that: ch = v e + f < |V E + F + 2 r )/ N | < |(2 + 2 r )/kr2 |. As r , we have that ch is bounded by 0. A excised statement shows that ch is in fact the Euler characteristic which is positive by the rst lemma above. Thus all the quotiented surfaces have an Euler characteristic of zero.

## Regular Tilings of the Hyperbolic Plane and the Sphere

After examining the wallpaper patterns, or regular tilings, in the Euclidean plane, it is natural to ask for regular tilings in another surfaces, for example, the sphere and the hyperbolic plane. We state the following two theorems: 7

Theorem 5.1. Given a triple (, , ) Z3 . If (1/ + 1/ + 1/) < 1, then there exists a triangle in H2 with angles /, / , /. If (1/ + 1/ + 1/) = 1, then there exists a triangle in R2 with angles /, / , /. If (1/ + 1/ + 1/) > 1, then there exists a triangle in S2 with angles /, / , /. Theorem 5.2. Given a triple (, , ) Z3 . We can form a tiling by the corresponding triangle in the corresponding plane. Instead of giving a proof here, we will simply describe how we can obtain a tiling in a particular plane. The idea is, given such triple, we form the triangle of the corresponding angles and then we ip across each side of the triangle. It happens that if the triangle is chosen nicely (especially when the plane is not euclidean), we can obtain a tiling by this action. The set of all triangles, together with the ipping operation, actually forms a group called triangle group. This group is a symmetry group of the tiling it generates. In the spherical case, the triangle group is nite; in the euclidean and hyperbolic case, the triangle group is innite. On the other hand, the euclidean plane has only three different triangle groups:

(2, 3, 6), (2, 2, 4) and (3, 3, 3). We can show this by checking the solution of 1/ + 1/ + 1/ = 1, or by the
crystallographic restriction. They correspond to the square and hexagonal type of lattices. For the spherical and hyperbolic cases, we can easily check there are innitely many triangle groups; each of them gives a tiling of the corresponding surface. Therefore, we can see that there are innitely many non-isomorphic regular tilings in the sphere and the hyperbolic plane.

References
 J. H. Conway, H. Burgiel, and C. Goodman-Strauss, Symmetries of things, pp. 8081, A K Peters, 2008.  H.S.M. Coxeter and H.S.H.S.M. Coxeter, Introduction to geometry, Wiley Classics Library, Wiley, 1989.  P. J. Morandi, Symmetry groups: The classication of wallpaper patterns, http://sierra.nmsu.edu/ morandi/OldWebPages/Math526Spring2007/Math526text2007-01-10.pdf, Spring 2007, Accessed: 03/07/2013.  T. Rowland, Free action, http://mathworld.wolfram.com/FreeAction.html, Spring, Accessed: 03/19/2013.