Exact constructions of a family of dense periodic packings of tetrahedra

S. Torquato, Y. Jiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The determination of the densest packings of regular tetrahedra (one of the five Platonic solids) is attracting great attention as evidenced by the rapid pace at which packing records are being broken and the fascinating packing structures that have emerged. Here we provide the most general analytical formulation to date to construct dense periodic packings of tetrahedra with four particles per fundamental cell. This analysis results in six-parameter family of dense tetrahedron packings that includes as special cases recently discovered "dimer" packings of tetrahedra, including the densest known packings with density φ= 4000 4671 =0.856347.... This study strongly suggests that the latter set of packings are the densest among all packings with a four-particle basis. Whether they are the densest packings of tetrahedra among all packings is an open question, but we offer remarks about this issue. Moreover, we describe a procedure that provides estimates of upper bounds on the maximal density of tetrahedron packings, which could aid in assessing the packing efficiency of candidate dense packings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number041310
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 30 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability


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