Hyperuniformity and its generalizations

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Disordered many-particle hyperuniform systems are exotic amorphous states of matter that lie between crystal and liquid: They are like perfect crystals in the way they suppress large-scale density fluctuations and yet are like liquids or glasses in that they are statistically isotropic with no Bragg peaks. These exotic states of matter play a vital role in a number of problems across the physical, mathematical as well as biological sciences and, because they are endowed with novel physical properties, have technological importance. Given the fundamental as well as practical importance of disordered hyperuniform systems elucidated thus far, it is natural to explore the generalizations of the hyperuniformity notion and its consequences. In this paper, we substantially broaden the hyperuniformity concept along four different directions. This includes generalizations to treat fluctuations in the interfacial area (one of the Minkowski functionals) in heterogeneous media and surface-area driven evolving microstructures, random scalar fields, divergence-free random vector fields, and statistically anisotropic many-particle systems and two-phase media. In all cases, the relevant mathematical underpinnings are formulated and illustrative calculations are provided. Interfacial-area fluctuations play a major role in characterizing the microstructure of two-phase systems (e.g., fluid-saturated porous media), physical properties that intimately depend on the geometry of the interface, and evolving two-phase microstructures that depend on interfacial energies (e.g., spinodal decomposition). In the instances of random vector fields and statistically anisotropic structures, we show that the standard definition of hyperuniformity must be generalized such that it accounts for the dependence of the relevant spectral functions on the direction in which the origin in Fourier space is approached (nonanalyticities at the origin). Using this analysis, we place some well-known energy spectra from the theory of isotropic turbulence in the context of this generalization of hyperuniformity. Among other results, we show that there exist many-particle ground-state configurations in which directional hyperuniformity imparts exotic anisotropic physical properties (e.g., elastic, optical, and acoustic characteristics) to these states of matter. Such tunability could have technological relevance for manipulating light and sound waves in ways heretofore not thought possible. We show that disordered many-particle systems that respond to external fields (e.g., magnetic and electric fields) are a natural class of materials to look for directional hyperuniformity. The generalizations of hyperuniformity introduced here provide theoreticians and experimentalists new avenues to understand a very broad range of phenomena across a variety of fields through the hyperuniformity "lens."

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number022122
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 15 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability


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