Characterization of maximally random jammed sphere packings. III. Transport and electromagnetic properties via correlation functions

In this paper, we study the physical properties of the hyperuniform maximally random jammed sphere packings.

Visualization of electromagnetic waves propagating through an MRJ sphere packing

M. A. Klatt and S. Torquato. Characterization of maximally random jammed sphere packings. III. Transport and Electromagnetic Properties Via Correlation Functions. Phys. Rev. E, 97:012118-1–17 (2018)

How do unique geometrical features of heterogeneous materials bring forth unique physical properties? Here, we study the link between the structure of sphere packings and a variety of physical properties using analytic approximations and rigorous bounds. In particular, we are interested in the most disordered among all mechanically stable packings of hard spheres (that are monodisperse and frictionless).

This maximally random jammed (MRJ) state exhibits an anomalous suppression of large-scale density fluctuations, known as hyperuniformity. Although the system is isotropic and locally disordered, it appears uniform on large scales. We compare the diffusion in the pore-space of the MRJ spheres to that of an equilibrium hard-sphere liquid or non-interacting spheres. Moreover, we study flow properties and effective conductivity; the latter also for anisotropic packings of spheroids. Therefore, we provide a comprehensive overview of rigorous bounds that connect these seemingly unrelated physical properties.

The most surprising result is found for electromagnetic waves that propagate through the MRJ sphere packings, where the wavelengths are much larger than the radii of the spheres. Usually disorder causes dissipation, but because of the unique property of hyperuniformity, the MRJ state forms, to a very good approximation, a dissipationless isotropic heterogeneous medium. This is demonstrated using an analytic strong-contrast expansion. It holds for any phase dielectric contrast ratio. The anomalous suppression of density fluctuations also suppresses the scattering of the electromagnetic waves.

This attribute could be useful for the design of photonic materials with novel structural color characteristics or color-sensing capabilities. Additive manufacturing fabrication techniques offer a simple production of samples for experiments with microwaves. So, our analytic results call for an experimental testing of these predicted qualitative trends in the physical properties associated with the MRJ structure.



Characterization of Jammed Packings with Maximal Disorder

In this paper, we characterize the global structure of MRJ sphere packings:

Three disordered 3D sphere configurations representing a “gas”, a “fluid”, and a “glass”

M. A. Klatt, S. Torquato. Characterization of maximally random jammed sphere packings. II. Correlation functions and density fluctuations. Phys. Rev. E, 94:022152-1–22 (2016)

Packings of hard, impenetrable spheres are useful models of granular media, low-temperature states of matter, suspensions and biological systems. What is the structure of the most disordered among all mechanical stable packings?

A unique property of this maximally random jammed (MRJ) state is that despite the local disorder, similar to a liquid, there is a hidden long-range order that anomalously suppresses density fluctuations on large length scales, more like in a crystalline solid. In a series of papers, we describe both the local and global structure of such disordered sphere packings using a variety of different structural characteristics.

In this second article, we derive explicit formulas but also apply Monte Carlo methods. By comparing the structure of MRJ packings to common models of disordered materials, our shape analysis helps to distinguish, despite seemingly similar features in all of those systems, their distinctly different structure.

Moreover, these structural characteristics are related to a host of different effective physical behavior, for example, flow or diffusion in these systems as well as their elastic moduli or electromagnetic properties. Our analysis thus links problems from material science, chemistry, physics, mathematics and biology.



Characterization of maximally random jammed sphere packings. I. Voronoi correlation functions

In this paper, we characterize the local and global structure of maximally random jammed sphere packings.

MRJ sphere packing: (left) only the spheres, (right) spheres and Voronoi cells

M. A. Klatt and S. Torquato. Characterization of Maximally Random Jammed Sphere Packings: Voronoi Correlation Functions. Phys. Rev. E, 90:052120-1–12 (2014)

We characterize the structure of the maximally disordered packing among the set of all packings of monodisperse frictionless hard spheres, the so-called maximally random jammed (MRJ) sphere packing. Therefore, we compute the Minkowski functionals of the associated Voronoi cells and compare the structure to that of the Poisson point process (ideal gas) and of an equilibrium hard-sphere liquid.

In particular, we consider correlation functions or probability density functions of these Voronoi characteristics. Here we introduce and compute correlation functions and probability density functions of Minkowski functionals to quantify the global structure of the Voronoi diagram.

The local analysis using the distribution of the Voronoi volumes finds no qualitative difference for the structure of liquid or random jammed hard-sphere packings. In contrast to this, the higher-order statistical descriptors introduced here qualitatively distinguish the Voronoi structure of the MRJ sphere packings (prototypical glasses) from that of a hard-sphere liquid. We find strong anti-correlations in the MRJ sphere packings that arise because the MRJ state is “hyperuniform”.