Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News & Views
  • Published:

Materials science

Complex order in soft matter

Spherical micelles can aggregate into highly organized structures. New micelle arrangements mimic known atomic crystals, both periodic and aperiodic, and provide evidence for a material with 18-fold rotational symmetry.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Periodic and aperiodic micellar phases.



  1. Fischer, S. et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 108, 1810–1814 (2011).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  2. Ziherl, P. & Kamien, R. D. Phys. Rev. Lett. 85, 3528–3531 (2000).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  3. Zeng, X. et al. Nature 428, 157–160 (2004).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  4. Talapin, D. V. et al. Nature 461, 964–967 (2009).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  5. Haji-Akbari, A. et al. Nature 462, 773–777 (2009).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  6. Hayashida, K., Dotera, T., Takano, A. & Matsushita, Y. Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 195502 (2007).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  7. Lee, S., Bluemle, M. J. & Bates, F. S. Science 330, 349–353 (2010).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  8. Iacovella, C. R., Keys, A. S. & Glotzer, S. C. Preprint at (2011).

  9. Mikhael, J. et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 107, 7214–7218 (2010).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

  10. Förster, S. et al. Nature Mater. 6, 888–893 (2007).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  11. Man, W., Megens, M., Steinhardt, P. J. & Chaikin, P. M. Nature 436, 993–996 (2005).

    Article  CAS  ADS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sharon C. Glotzer.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Glotzer, S., Engel, M. Complex order in soft matter. Nature 471, 309–310 (2011).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing