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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Voronoi cell analysis: The shapes of particle systems

Published Web Location Commons 'BY-NC' version 4.0 license

Many physical systems can be studied as collections of particles embedded in space, often evolving in time. Natural questions arise concerning how to characterize these arrangements-are they ordered or disordered? If they are ordered, how are they ordered and what kinds of defects do they possess? Voronoi tessellations, originally introduced to study problems in pure mathematics, have become a powerful and versatile tool for analyzing countless problems in pure and applied physics. We explain the basics of Voronoi tessellations and the shapes that they produce and describe how they can be used to characterize many physical systems.

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