Disordered hyperuniformity

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Disordered hyperuniformity is a type of liquid which has crystal properties. It greatly suppresses variations in the density of particles, like a crystal, and the particles have the same physical properties in all directions at shorter distances, like a liquid. It was discovered in the eyes of chickens. This is thought to be the case because chicken eyes cannot support the ordered, complex system best for eyesight.[1][2] This may eventually be used for self-organizing colloids or optics with the ability to transmit light with crystal efficiency while still retaining liquid flexibility.[3]

Unique optical properties have been uncovered in dense hyperuniform materials, wherein light of a wavelength specific to the material is able to propagate forward despite high particle density due to microscopic order. The uniformly spaced particles scatter light as it propagates through the material, but most of the scattering self-interferes except that in the direction of propagation. In conditions where light is propagated through an uncorrelated disordered material of the same density, the material would appear opaque due to multiple scattering. Such materials can be theoretically designed for light of any wavelength, and the applications of the concept cover a wide variety of fields of wave physics and materials engineering.[4]

The term hyperuniformity was coined by chemist and packing expert Salvatore Torquato, co-author of a pioneering 2003 paper on the topic.[5] Torquato says that another example of this ordering is that found in a shaken box of marbles, which fall into an arrangement, called maximally random jammed packing. Two classes of hyperuniformity include equilibrium systems - such as quasicrystals - and non-equilibrium systems, which include shaken marbles, emulsions, colloids and ensembles of cold atoms.[6] It's also thought to emerge on the mysterious biological patterns known as fairy circles - circle and patterns of circles that emerge in arid places.[7][8]

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  1. ^ Melissa - TodayIFoundOut.com (March 21, 2014). "Disordered Hyperuniformity: A Weird New State of Matter in Chicken Eyes". Gizmodo. Gawker Media.
  2. ^ David Freeman (26 February 2014). "Scientists Look In Chicken's Eye And Discover Weird New State Of Matter". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  3. ^ https://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S39/32/02E70/index.xml?section=topstories
  4. ^ https://www.osapublishing.org/optica/abstract.cfm?uri=optica-3-7-763
  5. ^ Torquato, Salvatore; Stillinger, Frank H. (Oct 29, 2003). "Local density fluctuations, hyperuniformity, and order metrics". Physical Review E. American Physical Society. 68: 041113. arXiv:cond-mat/0311532. Bibcode:2003PhRvE..68d1113T. doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.68.041113. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  6. ^ Wolchover, Natalie. "A Bird's-Eye View of Nature's Hidden Order". Quanta Magazine. Simons Foundation. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  7. ^ Press article on The Washington Post Dragons, aliens, bugs? Scientists may have solved the mystery of the desert’s ‘fairy circles.’

    The thing that immediately caught my eye about what they had was it seemed to fall into an exotic type of patterning I call hyperuniformity,

    — Salvatore Torquato
  8. ^ Stephan Getzin et al. (30 April 2016). "Discovery of fairy circles in Australia supports self-organization theory". PNAS.