🔗 Penrose Tiling

🔗 Mathematics

A Penrose tiling is an example of an aperiodic tiling. Here, a tiling is a covering of the plane by non-overlapping polygons or other shapes, and aperiodic means that shifting any tiling with these shapes by any finite distance, without rotation, cannot produce the same tiling. However, despite their lack of translational symmetry, Penrose tilings may have both reflection symmetry and fivefold rotational symmetry. Penrose tilings are named after mathematician and physicist Roger Penrose, who investigated them in the 1970s.

There are several different variations of Penrose tilings with different tile shapes. The original form of Penrose tiling used tiles of four different shapes, but this was later reduced to only two shapes: either two different rhombi, or two different quadrilaterals called kites and darts. The Penrose tilings are obtained by constraining the ways in which these shapes are allowed to fit together. This may be done in several different ways, including matching rules, substitution tiling or finite subdivision rules, cut and project schemes, and coverings. Even constrained in this manner, each variation yields infinitely many different Penrose tilings.

Penrose tilings are self-similar: they may be converted to equivalent Penrose tilings with different sizes of tiles, using processes called inflation and deflation. The pattern represented by every finite patch of tiles in a Penrose tiling occurs infinitely many times throughout the tiling. They are quasicrystals: implemented as a physical structure a Penrose tiling will produce diffraction patterns with Bragg peaks and five-fold symmetry, revealing the repeated patterns and fixed orientations of its tiles. The study of these tilings has been important in the understanding of physical materials that also form quasicrystals. Penrose tilings have also been applied in architecture and decoration, as in the floor tiling shown.

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