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Contents

• • • •

1 List of symmetry groups on the sphere 2 Relation between orbifold notation and order 3 See also 4 References

**List of symmetry groups on the sphere
**

Spherical symmetry groups are also called point groups in three dimensions. This article is about the finite ones. There are four fundamental symmetry classes which have triangular fundamental domains: dihedral, tetrahedral, octahedral, icosahedral. There are infinitely many dihedral symmetry groups. The final classes, under other have digonal or monogonal fundamental domains.

**[edit] Dihedral symmetry [2,n]
**

There are an infinite set of dihedral symmetries. n can be any positive integer 2 or greater (n = 1 is also possible, but these three symmetries are equal to C2, C2v, and C2h). Schönflies Coxeter Orbifold Name crystallographic Order notation notation notation Polyditropic Dn [2,n]+ 22n 2n Fundamental domain

Polydiscopic Dnh

[2,n]

*22n

4n

Polydigyros Dnd

[2+,2n] 2*n

4n

**[edit] Tetrahedral symmetry [3,3]
**

Name Schönflies Coxeter Orbifold Order Fundamental

crystallographic notation notation notation

domain

Chiral tetrahedral T

[3,3]+

332

12

Achiral tetrahedral Td

[3,3]

*332

24

Pyritohedral

Th

[3+,4]

3*2

24

**[edit] Octahedral symmetry [3,4]
**

Name Schönflies Coxeter Orbifold Fundamental crystallographic Order notation notation domain notation

Chiral octahedral O

[3,4]+

432

24

Achiral octahedral Oh

[3,4]

*432

48

**[edit] Icosahedral symmetry [3,5]
**

Name Schönflies Coxeter Orbifold Fundamental crystallographic Order notation notation domain notation [3,5]+ 532 60

Chiral icosahedral I

Achiral icosahedral Ih

[3,5]

*532

120

[edit] Other

These final forms have digonal or monogonal fundamental regions with Cyclic symmetries and reflection symmetry. There are four infinite sets with index n being any positive integer; for n=1 two cases are equal, so there are three; they are separately named. Name Schönflies Coxeter Orbifold crystallographic Order notation notation notation Fundamental domain

no symmetry (monotropic)

C1

[1]+

11

1

discrete rotational symmetry (polytropic)

Cn

[n]+

nn

n

reflection symmetry (monoscopic)

Cs = C1v = C1h

[1]

*11

2

Polyscopic

Cnv

[n]

*nn

2n

Polygyros

Cnh

[2,n+]

n*

2n

inversion symmetry (monodromic) Polydromic

Ci = S 2

[2+,2+] 1x

2

S2n

[2+,2n+] nx

2n

**Relación entre la notación orbifold y el orden
**

El orden de cada grupo es 2 dividido por la característica esférico-aria de Euler; el último es 2 menos la suma de los valores característicos, asignados como sigue:

• • •

n sin o antes del signo * cuenta somo un (n−1)/n n después de * cuenta como un (n−1)/(2n) * y x cuenta como un 1

Esto se puede aplicar también para los grupos papel tapiz: para ellos, la suma de los valores característicos es 2, dado un orden infinito; ver orbifold Euler characteristic for wallpaper groups.

See also

• • • • •

Point groups in three dimensions Overview of point groups by crystal system Crystallographic point group List of planar symmetry groups Triangle group

Sistema Cristalográfico

Un Sistema Cristalográfico es una categoría de los grupos espaciales, que es característica de la simetría de las estructuras en tres dimensiones con la simetría trasnacional en tres direcciones, teniendo así un grupo de simetría discreto. La aplicación más importante la encontramos en la cristalografía, para caracterizar a los cristales, sin embargo, el tema es en sí mismo parte de la Geometría Euclideana en 3D. Hay 7 sistemas cristalográficos:

• Triclinic, all cases not satisfying the requirements of any other system; thus there is no other symmetry than translational symmetry, or the only extra kind is inversion. • Monoclinic, requires either 1 two-fold axis of rotation or 1 mirror plane. • Orthorhombic, requires either 3 two-fold axes of rotation or 1 two fold axis of rotation and two mirror planes. • Tetragonal, requires 1 four-fold axis of rotation. • Rhombohedral, also called trigonal, requires 1 three-fold axis of rotation. • Hexagonal, requires 1 six-fold axis of rotation. • Isometric or cubic, requires 4 three-fold axes of rotation.

There are 2, 13, 59, 68, 25, 27, and 36 space groups per crystal system, respectively, together 230. The following mini-table gives a breakdown of the various different things per crystal system;

Crystal system : No. Point groups : No. Bravais lattices: No. Space groups : 1 2 1 2 2 3 2 13 3 3 4 59 4 7 2 68 5 5 1 25 6 7 1 27 7 5 3 36 : Total : 32 : 14 : 230

**Within a crystal system there are two ways of categorizing space groups:
**

• by the linear parts of symmetries, i.e. by crystal class, also called crystallographic point group; each of the 32 crystal classes applies for one of the 7 crystal systems • by the symmetries in the translation lattice, i.e. by Bravais lattice; each of the 14 Bravais lattices applies for one of the 7 crystal systems.

The 73 symmorphic space groups (see space group) are largely combinations, within each crystal system, of each applicable point group with each applicable Bravais lattice: there are 2, 6, 12, 14, 5, 7, and 15 combinations, respectively, together 61.

Contents

• • • • •

1 Crystallographic point group 2 Overview of point groups by crystal system 3 Classification of lattices 4 See also 5 External links

**Crystallographic point group
**

A symmetry group consists of isometric affine transformations; each is given by an orthogonal matrix and a translation vector (which may be the zero vector). Space groups can be grouped by the matrices involved, i.e. ignoring the translation vectors (see also Euclidean group). This corresponds to discrete symmetry groups with a fixed point. There are infinitely many of these point groups in three dimensions. However, only part of these

are compatible with translational symmetry: the crystallographic point groups. This is expressed in the crystallographic restriction theorem. (In spite of these names, this is a geometric limitation, not just a physical one.) The point group of a crystal, among other things, determines the symmetry of the crystal's optical properties. For instance, one knows whether it is birefringent, or whether it shows the Pockels effect, simply by knowing its point group.

**Overview of point groups by crystal system
**

crystal system point group / Schönflies crystal class triclinic-pedial C1 triclinic triclinicpinacoidal monoclinicsphenoidal monoclinic monoclinicdomatic monoclinicprismatic Ci C2 Cs C2h HermannMauguin orbifold 11 1x 22 1* 2* 222 *22 *222 44 2x 4* 422 *44 centrosymmetric enantiomorphic polar Type enantiomorphic polar centrosymmetric enantiomorphic polar polar centrosymmetric enantiomorphic polar centrosymmetric enantiomorphic polar

orthorhombicD2 sphenoidal orthorhombic orthorhombicC2v pyramidal orthorhombicD2h bipyramidal tetragonal tetragonalpyramidal tetragonaldisphenoidial tetragonaldipyramidal tetragonaltrapezoidal ditetragonalC4 S4 C4h D4 C4v

pyramidal tetragonalscalenoidal ditetragonaldipyramidal trigonalpyramidal trigonalrhombohedral trapezoidal (trigonal) ditrigonalpyramidal ditrigonalscalahedral hexagonalpyramidal trigonaldipyramidal hexagonaldipyramidal hexagonal hexagonaltrapezoidal dihexagonalpyramidal ditrigonaldipyramidal dihexagonaldipyramidal tetartoidal diploidal cubic gyroidal tetrahedral D2d D4h C3 or 2*2 *422 33 3x or or or or or or 322 *33 2*3 66 3* 6* 622 *66 or *322 *622 332 3*2 432 *332 *432 centrosymmetric centrosymmetric enantiomorphic centrosymmetric enantiomorphic centrosymmetric enantiomorphic polar centrosymmetric enantiomorphic polar centrosymmetric enantiomorphic polar centrosymmetric enantiomorphic polar

rhombohedral S6 (C3i) D3 C3v D3d C6 C3h C6h D6 C6v D3h D6h T Th O Td

hexoctahedral Oh

The crystal structures of biological molecules (such as protein structures) can only occur in the 11 enantiomorphic point groups, as biological molecules are invariably chiral. The

protein assemblies themselves may have symmetries other than those given above, because they are not intrinsically restricted by the Crystallographic restriction theorem. For example the Rad52 DNA binding protein has an 11-fold rotational symmetry (in human), however, it must form crystals in one of the 11 enantiomorphic point groups given above.

Classification of lattices

Crystal system

Lattices

triclinic (parallelepiped)

simple monoclinic (right prism with parallelogram base; here seen from above)

centered

simple orthorhombic (cuboid)

base-centered

bodycentered

face-centered

simple tetragonal (square cuboid)

bodycentered

rhombohedral (trigonal) (3-sided trapezohedron)

hexagonal (centered regular hexagon) bodycentered

simple cubic (isometric; cube)

face-centered

In geometry and crystallography, a Bravais lattice is a category of symmetry groups for translational symmetry in three directions, or correspondingly, a category of translation lattices. Such symmetry groups consist of translations by vectors of the form

where n1, n2, and n3 are integers and a1, a2, and a3 are three non-coplanar vectors, called primitive vectors. These lattices are classified by space group of the translation lattice itself; there are 14 Bravais lattices in three dimensions; each can apply in one crystal system only. They represent the maximum symmetry a structure with the translational symmetry concerned can have. All crystalline materials recognised till now (not including quasicrystals) fit in one of these arrangements. For convenience a Bravais lattice is depicted by a unit cell which is a factor 1, 2, 3 or 4 larger than the primitive cell. Depending on the symmetry of a crystal or other pattern, the fundamental domain is again smaller, up to a factor 48. The Bravais lattices were studied by Moritz Ludwig Frankenheim (1801-1869), in 1842, who found that there were 15 Bravais lattices. This was corrected to 14 by A. Bravais in 1848.

**Symmetry Operations and Character Tables
**

All the character tables are laid out in the same way, and some pre-knowledge of group theory is assumed. In brief:

• • • •

The top row and first column consist of the symmetry operations and irreducible representations respectively. The table elements are the characters. The final two columns show the first and second order combinations of Cartesian coordinates. Infinitesimal rotations are listed as Ix, Iy, and Iz.

The notation for the symmetry operations is as follows: E The identity transformation (E coming from the German Einheit, meaning unity). Rotation (clockwise) through an angle of 2 /n radians, where n is an integer. The axis Cn for which n is greatest is termed the principal axis. Cnk Rotation (clockwise) through an angle of 2k /n radians. Both n and k are integers. An improper rotation (clockwise) through an angle of 2 /n radians. Improper rotations Sn are regular rotations followed by a reflection in the plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation. Also known as alternating axis of symmetry and rotation-reflection axis. The inversion operator (the same as S2). In Cartesian coordinates, (x, y, z) (-x, -y, -z). Irreducible representations that are even under this symmetry operation are usually i denoted with the subscript g for gerade (german=even), and those that are odd are denoted with the subscript u for ungerade (german=odd). A mirror plane (from the German word for mirror - Spiegel). Horizontal reflection plane - passing through the origin and perpendicular to the axis h with the ‘highest’ symmetry. Vertical reflection plane - passing through the origin and the axis with the ‘highest’ v symmetry. Diagonal or dihedral reflection in a plane through the origin and the axis with the d ‘highest’ symmetry, but also bisecting the angle between the twofold axes perpendicular to the symmetry axis. This is actually a special case of v. It often occurs for a point group that there are inequivalent operations of the same type. For example, there are three C2 operations in the D2d point group, two of which are inequivalent to the third. In such cases the different operations may be distinguished with a ‘prime’ or by indicating some Cartesian reference (such as the x, y, and z related C2 operations in D2). A special note on the term cubic: Within this site, cubic is used in the crystallographic sense, but there is (unfortunately) an alternative definition - the expression ’cubic point groups’ may be used to refer to all point groups with indistinguishable cartesian axes. This means that for example all three moments of inertia are identical. All cubic point groups can be derived from the Platonic solids. A special note on non-cyrstallographic groups: Of course there are an infinte set of noncyrstallographic point groups, as can be seen in the idea that one can have any n for Cn group. On this site we focus on some of the more important non-crystallographic point groups and other examples.

Categorisation by Class

Cubic Tetragonal ( T Th O Td Oh ) ( C4 S4 C4h D4 C4v D2d D4h )

Orthorhombic Monoclinic Triclinic Trigonal Hexagonal Non-Crystallographic All Cubic* Operations E, 4C3, 4C32, 3C2 E, 8C3, 3C2, 3 v, I, 8S6 E, 6C4, 8C3, 3C2, 6C2’ E, 8C3, 3C2, 6S4, 6 d E, 8C3, 6C2, 6C4, 3C2’, i, 6S4, 8S6, 3 h, 6 d

(C

C

h

C

v

D

( D2 C2v D2h ) ( C2 Cs C2h ) ( C1 Ci ) ( C3 S6 D3 C3v D3d ) ( C6 C3h C6h D6 C6v D3h D6h ) C5 S8 D5 C5v C5h D4d D5d D5h D6d I Ih ) h

Full Irred. Isomorph Schönflies International Symmetr Correlation x Order Rep. . Symbol Symbol y Table i products with Symbol 12 24 24 24 48 T Th O Td Oh 23 m3 432 3m m3m 432 3m 23 Th Th O

h

Td O

O

h

O

h

Tetragonal Operations E, C4, C2, C43 E, S4, C2, S43 E, C4, C2, C43, i, S43, h, S4 E, 2C4, C2, 2C2’, 2C2’’ Full Irred. Isomorph Schönflies International Symmetr Correlation Order Rep. x i . Symbol Symbol y Table products with Symbol 4 4 8 8 C4 S4 C4h D4 4/m 422 422 4 4 C4h C4h C4h D4

h

S4 C4

C4v, D2d

**E, 2C4, C2, 2 v, 2 d E, 2S4, C2, 2C2’, 2 d E, 2C4, C2, 2C2’, 2C2’’, i, 2S4, h, 2 v, 2
**

d

8 8 16

C4v D2d(Vd) D4h

4mm 2m 4/mmm

4mm 2m

D4

h

D4, D2d D4, C4v

D4

h

D4

h

Orthorhombic Full Irred. Schönflies International Correlation Isomorph. Operations Order Symmetry Rep. x i Symbol Symbol Table with Symbol products E, C2, C2’, 4 D2(V) 222 222 D2h C2v, C2h C2’’ E, C2, v, 4 C2v mm2 mm2 D2h D2, C2h v’ E, C2, C2’, C2’’, i, , 8 D2h(Vh) mmm D2h ’, ’’ Rhombic symmetry for defects in crystals is often pided into two types: Type I:C2 coincides with the [110] direction and C2’ and C2’’ with [001] and [1-10] directions respectively (or, v and v’ coincide with the planes (1-10) and (001)). Also belonging to type I are centres for which C2 coincides with [001] and v and v’ with (110) and (1-10). Type II:C2 axis coincides with [001] and the axes C2’ and C2’’ with [100] and [010], (or, alternatively, v and v’ coincide with (010) and (100)).

**Monoclinic Operations Order E, C2 E,
**

h

Full Schönflies International Correlation Irred. Rep. Isomorph. Symmetry xi Symbol Symbol Table products with Symbol C2 Cs(C1h) C2h 2 m 2/m 2 m C2h C2h Cs, Ci C2, Ci

2 2

h

E, C2, i,

4

C2h D2, C2v

Monoclinic symmetry for defects in crystals is often divided into two types: Type I:C2 coincides with<110>or h with (110) Type II:C2 coincides with<100>or h with (100)

Triclinic Operations Order E E, i 1 2 Full Schönflies International Correlation Irred. Rep. x Isomorph. Symmetry Symbol Symbol Table products i with Symbol C1 Ci(S2) 1 1 Ci Ci Cs, C2

**Trigonal Operations E, C3, C32 E, C3, C32, i, S65, S6 E, 2C3, 3C2 E, 2C3, 3
**

v

Full Irred. Schönflies International Symmetr Correlation Isomorph. Order Rep. x i Symbol Symbol y Table with products Symbol 3 6 6 6 12 C3 S6(C3i) D3 C3v D3d 32 3m m 32 3m 3 3 S6 S6 D3

d

C6, C3h C3v D3

D3

d

E, 2C3, 3C2, i, 2S6, 3 d

D3 C6v, D6, D3h d

Hexagonal Operations E, C6, C3, C2, C32, C65 E, C3, C32, h, S3, S32 E, C6, C3, C2, C32, C65, i, S32, Full Irred. Schönflies International Symmetr Correlation Isomorph. Order Rep. x i Symbol Symbol y Table with products Symbol 6 6 12 C6 C3h(S3) C6h 6/m 6 6 C6h S6, C3h C6h C6h S6, C6

S65, h, S6, S3 E, 2C6, 2C3, C2, 3C2’, 3C2’’ E, 2C6, 2C3, C2, 3 v, 3 d E, 2C3, 3C2, h, 2S3, 3 v E, 2C6, 2C5, C2, 3C2’, 3C2’’, i, 2S3, 2S6, h, 3 d, 3 v

12 12 12 24

D6 C6v D3h D6h

622 6mm m2 6/mmm

622 6mm m2

**D6 C6v, D3d, D3h h D6 D6, D3d, D3h h D6 D6, D3d, C6v h D6
**

h

This table lists point group symmetries along with their symmetry operations, the order of the group (i.e. the number of symmetry operations) and common notations. links to a correlation table, and links to tables of products of irreducible representations. The group produced by combination with inversion is listed under "x i". This, in the case of crystolographic point groups, is the Laue class which corresponds to the symmetry of reciprocal space. Isomorphic groups are also listed where character tables are available.

Isomorphism

Isomorphism is a mathematical equivalence between two or more groups. Isomorphic groups possess the same structure in the character tables, but differ in symmetry operations and selection rules. Finite isomorphic groups must possess the same number of element of any given period. The period of an element is defined as the number of times that operation must be performed to be equivalent to the identity operation. For example, the Cn operation is period n and any mirror operation is period 2.

Collections of isomorphic groups are said to belong to the same abstract group, which do not in general correspond to crystallographic categories. The following table [after I Novak, Eur. J. Phys.16, 151 (1995)] lists many molecular point groups by order. Abstract groups are by definition must have the same order, and hence lie on the same row of the table. Abstract groups are grouped by the coloured backgrounds. For example, there are two abstract groups of order 4, one made up from S4 and C4, and the other made up from C2h, C2v and D2. Order 1 Sn Cn C1 Cnh Cnv Dn Dnd Dnh Cubic Icosahedral

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 16 18 20 24

S2 S4 S6 S8 S10 S12 S14 S16 S18 S20

C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7 C8 C9 C10

C1h C2h C3h C4h C5h C6h C7h C8h C9h C10h C2v C3v C4v C5v C6v C7v C8v C9v C10v D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8 D9 D10 D2d D2h

D3d D4d D5d D6d

D3h D4h D5h D6h

T

48 60 120 Revised: 21 September 2005 at 13:15

O, Td Th Oh

I Ih © University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Stereographs

C1

C2

C3

C4

C5

C6

C2v

C3v

C4v

C5v

C6v

C2h

C4h C3h/S3 C5h/S5

C6h

C1h/S1 S2

S4

S6

S8

D2

D3

D4

D5

D6

D2d

D3d

D4d

D5d

D6d

D2h D3h Revised: 21 September 2005 at 13:15

D5h D4h D6h © University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

3D Solids

C1

C2

C3

C4

C6

C2v

C3v

C4v

C6v

Cs

C2h

C3h

C4h

C6h

Ci

S4

S6

D2

D3

D4

D6

D2d

D3d

D2h

D3h

D4h

D6h

T Th Revised: 21 September 2005 at 13:15

O

Td Oh © University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Molecular examples for point groups

Shown here are examples of molecules that possess some of the more common point group symmetries. The images can be animated by pointing at them. Each molecule is scaled to be approximately the same size. The blue surfaces represent surfaces of constant charge density.

H2 O2: C2

H2 O: C2v

NH3: C3v

SF5 Cl: C4v

HCN: C v

B(OH)3: C3h

C2 H6: D3d

S8: D4d

Fe(C5 H5)2: D5d

Cr(C6 H6)2: D6d

C2 H4: D2h

C2 H6: D3h

[PdCl4]2-: D4h

Fe(C5 H5)2: D5h

C6 H6: D6h

H2: D h

CH4: Td Colour code

SF6: Oh

C60: Ih

Hydrogen Boron Carbon Nitrogen Fluorine Oxygen Sulphur Chlorine Chromium Iron Palladium (H) (B) (C) (N) (F) (O) (S) (Cl) (Cr) (Fe) (Pd) Revised: 21 September 2005 at 13:15 © University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Crystal system

A crystal system is a category of space groups, which characterize symmetry of structures in three dimensions with translational symmetry in three directions, having a discrete symmetry group. A major application is in crystallography, to categorize crystals, but by itself the topic is one of 3D Euclidean geometry. There are 7 crystal systems: • Triclinic, all cases not satisfying the requirements of any other system; thus there is no other symmetry than translational symmetry, or the only extra kind is inversion. • Monoclinic, requires either 1 two-fold axis of rotation or 1 mirror plane. • Orthorhombic, requires either 3 two-fold axes of rotation or 1 two fold axis of rotation and two mirror planes. • Tetragonal, requires 1 four-fold axis of rotation. • Rhombohedral, also called trigonal, requires 1 three-fold axis of rotation. • Hexagonal, requires 1 six-fold axis of rotation. • Isometric or cubic, requires 4 three-fold axes of rotation.

•

There are 2, 13, 59, 68, 25, 27, and 36 space groups per crystal system, respectively, together 230. The following mini-table gives a breakdown of the various different things per crystal system; Sistema de cristal Triclínico Monoclínico Ortorómbico Tetragonal (Trigonal) Hexagonal Cúbico Total No. De grupos finitos 2 3 3 7 5 7 5 32 No. Redes de Bravais 1 2 4 2 1 1 3 14 No. de grupos espaciales 2 13 59 68 25 27 36 230

**Within a crystal system there are two ways of categorizing space groups:
**

•

•

by the linear parts of symmetries, i.e. by crystal class, also called crystallographic point group; each of the 32 crystal classes applies for one of the 7 crystal systems by the symmetries in the translation lattice, i.e. by Bravais lattice; each of the 14 Bravais lattices applies for one of the 7 crystal systems.

•

The 73 symmorphic space groups (see space group) are largely combinations, within each crystal system, of each applicable point group with each applicable Bravais lattice: there are 2, 6, 12, 14, 5, 7, and 15 combinations, respectively, together 61.

Bravais Lattices

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay First-time Visitors: Please visit Site Map and Disclaimer. Use "Back" to return here. In two dimensions, periodic unit cells can have one of five basic shapes: general parallelogram, general rectangle, square, 60-120 degree rhombus, and generic rhombus. The last is often described as a "centered" lattice, a rectangle with an extra point in the middle, to bring out the rectangular nature of the pattern. It's not too hard to see the rectangular pattern in a rhombic lattice, but it can be very hard to see the patterns in three dimensional lattices. For this reason, three-dimensional lattices

must often be described as unit cells with additional points. There are 14 basic unit cells in three dimensions, called the Bravais Lattices.

Symbols

• • • • •

P - Primitive: simple unit cell F - Face-centered: additional point in the center of each face I - Body-centered: additional point in the center of the cell C - Centered: additional point in the center of each end R - Rhombohedral: Hexagonal class only

Isometric Cells

The F cell is very important because it is the pattern for cubic closest packing. There is no C cell because such a cell would not have cubic symmetry.

Tetragonal Cells

A C cell would simply be a P cell with a smaller cross-section. An F cell would reduce to a network of I cells.

Hexagonal Cells

The R cell is unique to hexagonal crystals. The two interior points divide the long diagonal of the cell in thirds. This is the only Bravais lattice with more than one interior point. A rhombohedron can be thought of as a cube distorted along one of its diagonals. More information on the rhombohedral lattice.

Orthorhombic Cells

The orthorhombic class is the only one with all four types of Bravais lattice

Monoclinic and Triclinic Cells

Monoclinic F or I cells could also be represented as C cells. Any other triclinic cell can also be represented as a P cell.

**Three-Dimensional Point Groups
**

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay First-time Visitors: Please visit Site Map and Disclaimer. Use "Back" to return here. For more information on the 32 crystallographic point groups, see Crystallographic Point Groups.

Possible Symmetries

Consider a system of symmetry axes with m and n-fold symmetry:

*A 180/n /|\ 180/n / | \ 180/m / | \ 180/m B*---+---*B' 180/m \ |O / 180/m \ | /

180/n \|/ 180/n *A'

Axis A rotates axis B to B' through an angle of 360/n. Likewise, axis B rotates A to A' through 360/m. Angle O is 90 degrees. In three dimensions, there are three possibilities:

• • •

The symmetry axes lie on a sphere, and 180/m + 180/n + 90 is greater than 180 degrees, or: 1/m + 1/n is greater than 1/2. The symmetry axes lie on a plane, and 180/m + 180/n + 90 = 180 degrees, or: 1/m + 1/n = 1/2. The symmetry axes lie on a negatively curved surface, and 180/m + 180/n + 90 is less than 180 degrees, or: 1/m + 1/n is less than 1/2.

Consider each case in turn

The Plane

There are only two cases: n=4 and m=4, which gives rise to all the fourfold symmetries, and n=3, m=6, giving rise to all the three- and six-fold symmetries. There are also two- and one-fold patterns in the plane, which have to be considered in a different way because pairs of axes don't lead to closed patterns like that above.

The Sphere

Patterns on a sphere eventually must close, so we don't need to treat one- and two-fold symmetries differently. The possibilities are:

• • • • •

m = 1, n = anything m = 2, n = anything m = 3, n = 3 m = 4, n = 3 m = 5, n = 3

When m=6 and n = 3, 1/m + 1/n = 1/2 and we have the plane situation. When n has any value, we have the polar symmetries, with a major n-fold axis, possibly combined with mirror planes or two-fold axes. The other cases result in multiple 3-fold axes, the so-called isometric symmetries. The cases m=3 and m=4 result in crystallographic symmetries, the case m=5 results in the icosahedral symmetries.

Negative Curvature

On a negatively-curved (hyperbolic) surface, angles of a triangle sum to less than 180 degrees. Any values of m or n greater than those listed above will work. Unfortunately, we can't create more than a tiny portion of such a surface in three-space so we can't display these patterns without distortion. However, there are some distorted plane patterns and networks of polyhedra that display some aspects of this geometry. See approaches to hyperbolic patterns

Polar Symmetries

The symmetries possible with a single three-fold symmetry axis illustrate the types of polar symmetry

There are seven types of symmetry. Recall that there are also seven one-dimensional strip space groups. The number seven is no coincidence: the polar symmetries can be obtained by wrapping the strip symmetries around a cylinder. The diagrams below show the strip, the result when wrapped around a cylinder, and a solid with the resulting symmetry.

Regular prisms (regular polygon top and bottom faces and square prism faces) have nm/m symmetry. Regular antiprisms (regular polygons joined by a belt of equilateral triangles, have n'2m symmetry, where the prime denotes rotoinversion.

Rotoinversion Symmetry

Perhaps the hardest symmetry to envision is rotoinversion symmetry, symbolized by a bar over the rotation number.

Rotoinversion requires rotating a point by 360/n degrees, then inverting it through the center as shown in the upper left. The crystallographic rotoinversion symmetries appear hopelessly random. However, when we consider non-crystallographic symmetries as well, the pattern leaps out.

• • •

If n is odd, there are 2n points alternating up and down. If n is even and divisible by 4, there are n points alternating up and down. If n is even and not divisible by 4, there are n/2 mirror image pairs of points.

The observation that the polar symmetries can be derived by wrapping the strip symmetries around a cylinder can help us understand rotoinversion symmetry from a different angle. Imagine the strips are transparent. If the period of the strip is not a rational fraction of the circumference of the cylinder the motif will repeat an infinite number of times. Otherwise, the pattern will eventually repeat and the cylinder will have overlapping motifs. For most symmetries this does not change the final result, but for glide symmetry (corresponding to rotoinversion), three cases are possible. Here we use "motif" to mean the pattern that results after the strip begins to repeat.

**1. The motif coincides with itself
**

p p b b p p p p b b p p b b p p b b p p b b

**2. The motif is offset by one-quarter period after each revolution
**

p p b p b p b p p p p b p b p b p b p b p b p b p b p b p b p b

Final Result p b p b p b p b p b p b p b p b p b p b p b p b p b p b p b p b

**3. The motif is offset by one-half period after each revolution
**

p b b p p b p p b p p b b p p b b p p b b p

Case 1 corresponds to the case where n is even and divisible by 4. Case 2 corresponds to n odd (there are more repetitions, more closely spaced). And case 3 corresponds to n even but not divisible by 4. The relation of glide symmetry to rotoinversion was noticed a long time ago. Older crystallography texts sometimes called rotoinversion rotational reflection.

Isometric Symmetries

**Approaches to Hyperbolic Symmetry
**

Pseudopolyhedra

The pattern here is a "uniform polyhedron" in having all vertices alike and all faces regular. Here four hexagons meet at every vertex, something not possible on a plane or sphere unless the faces intersect themselves. This sort of pattern, sometimes termed a pseudopolyhedron, has some aspects of hyperbolic geometry. Unfortunately, it is not possible to model all hyperbolic symmetries this way. We get away with this only because the network of hexagons curls back on itself in our three-dimensional space. But on a "real" hyperbolic plane, we would see four hexagons meeting at every vertex and the surface would not curl back on itself. We can't make a physical model, we can only imagine it mathematically.

**The Crystallographic Point Groups
**

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay First-time Visitors: Please visit Site Map and Disclaimer. Use "Back" to return here.

This page describes the 32 crystallographic point groups. For general information on all three-dimensional symmetries, including non-crystallographic symmetries, see ThreeDimensional Point Groups.

Triclinic, Monoclinic and Orthorhombic Symmetries

Trigonal Symmetries

Hexagonal Symmetries

Tetragonal Symmetries

Isometric Symmetries

Return to Symmetry Index Return to Crustal Materials (Mineralogy-Petrology) Index Go to Recreational Mathematics Index Return to Professor Dutch's Home Page Created 15 Sep 1997, Last Update 3 Oct 1997

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