Simplex

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n-simplex
Rankn
TypeRegular
SpaceSpherical
Notation
Coxeter diagramx3o3o3...3o (CDel node 1.pngCDel 3.pngCDel node.pngCDel 3.pngCDel node.pngCDel 3.png...CDel 3.pngCDel node.png)
Schläfli symbol{3,3,3, ..., ,3}
Elements
Vertices
Vertex figure(n-1)-simplex, edge length 1
Measures (edge length 1)
Circumradius
Inradius
Volume
Height
Central density1
Number of pieces
Level of complexity1
Related polytopes
Dualn-simplex
ConjugateNone
Abstract properties
Flag count
Euler characteristic0 if n even
2 if n odd
Topological properties
OrientableYes
Properties
SymmetryAn, order
ConvexYes
NatureTame
A tetrahedron, with a triangle, a dyad, and a point outlined. These are all examples of simplexes.

A simplex (plural simplices or simplexes) is the simplest possible non-degenerate polytope in each respective dimension. The n-dimensional simplex, or simply n-simplex, consists of n+1 vertices, with each n of them joined in the unique manner by a simplex of the lower dimension. Alternatively, one may construct an n-simplex as the pyramid of the (n-1)-simplex. The pyramid product of an m-dimensional simplex and an n-dimensional simplex is an (m+n+1)-dimensional simplex. All possible realizations of simplexes are convex.

Every simplex can be made regular. As such, the simplexes comprise one of the three infinite families of regular polytopes that exist in every dimension, the other two being the hypercubes and the orthoplexes.

In even dimensions greater than 2, simplexes can be thought of as step prisms, such as the pentachoron (5-2 step prism) and the heptapeton (7-2-3 step prism). In odd dimensions greater than 1, simplexes can be thought of as disphenoids of an -dimensional simplex, such as the tetrahedron (digonal disphenoid) and the hexateron (triangular disphenoid).

Every simplex is self-dual.

Elements[edit | edit source]

All of the elements of a simplex are simplexes themselves. The number of d-dimensional elements in an n-dimensional simplex is given by the binomial coefficient . This is because any choice of d+1 vertices defines a unique d-dimensional simplex. In particular, an n-dimensional simplex has n+1 vertices and n+1 facets (each shaped like an (n-1)-dimensional simplex), and its vertex figure is also the simplex of the previous dimension.

In total, an n-simplex has 2n elements, including the nullitope and the bulk of the polytope.

Examples[edit | edit source]

Excluding the degenerate nullitope and the point, the simplexes up to 10D are the following:

Simplexes by dimension
Dimension Name Picture Dimension Name Picture
1 Dyad
Line segment.svg
6 Heptapeton
6-simplex t0.svg
2 Triangle
2-simplex t0.svg
7 Octaexon
7-simplex t0.svg
3 Tetrahedron
3-simplex t0.svg
8 Enneazetton
8-simplex t0.svg
4 Pentachoron
4-simplex t0.svg
9 Decayotton
9-simplex t0.svg
5 Hexateron
5-simplex t0.svg
10 Hendecaxennon
10-simplex t0.svg

Vertex coordinates[edit | edit source]

Coordinates for the vertices of an n-simplex of edge length 1, centered at the origin, are given by:

Alternatively, there are simpler coordinates but the simplex is not centered at the origin:

  • all permutations of
  • where .

Much simpler coordinates can be given in n+1 dimensions, as all permutations of

  • .

Measures[edit | edit source]

  • The circumradius of a regular n-dimensional simplex of unit edge length is given by .
  • Its inradius is given by .
  • Its height from a vertex to the opposite facet is given by .
  • Its hypervolume is given by .
  • The angle between two facet hyperplanes is .

External links[edit | edit source]