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Disordered Hyperuniform Many-Particle Systems: New States of Amorphous Matter

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While there are four commonly observed states of matter (solid crystal, liquid, gas, and plasma), we have known for some time now that there exist many other forms of matter. For example, both quasicrystals and liquid crystals are states of matter that possess properties that are intermediate between those of crystals and conventional liquids. The focus of my talk will be disordered hyperuniform many-body systems [1], which can be regarded to be a new state of disordered matter in that they behave more like crystals or quasicrystals in the manner in which they suppress large-scale density fluctuations, and yet are also like liquids and glasses because they are statistically isotropic structures with no Bragg peaks. Thus, disordered hyperuniform systems can be regarded to possess a “hidden order” that is not apparent on short length scales, while being structurally rotationally invariant. I will describe a variety of different examples of such disordered states of matter that arise in physics, mathematics and biology [2]. Among other results, I will describe classical ground states that are disordered, hyperuniform and highly degenerate over a wide range of densities up to some critical density, below which the system undergoes a phase transition to ordered states [2]. Disordered hyperuniform systems appear to be endowed with novel physical properties, including complete photonic band gaps comparable in size to those in photonic crystals [3] and improved electronic band-gap properties. Moreover, we have recently shown that photoreceptor cell patterns (responsible for detecting light) in avian retina have evolved to be disordered and hyperuniform [4].

1. S. Torquato and F. H. Stillinger, “Local Density Fluctuations, Hyperuniform Systems, and Order Metrics,” Phys. Rev. E, 68, 041113 (2003).

2. S. Torquato, G. Zhang, and F. H. Stillinger, Ensemble Theory for Stealthy Hyperuniform Disordered Ground States, Phys. Rev. X, 5,021020 (2015).

3. M. Florescu, S. Torquato and P. J. Steinhardt, “Designer Disordered Materials with Large, Complete Photonic Band Gaps,” Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., 106, 20658 (2009).

4. Y. Jiao, T. Lau, H. Haztzikirou, M. Meyer-Hermann, J. C. Corbo, and S. Torquato, Avian Photoreceptor Patterns Represent a Disordered Hyperuniform Solution to a Multiscale Packing Problem, Physical Review E, 89, 022721 (2014).

This talk is part of the Theory - Chemistry Research Interest Group series.

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