Physicists find a new ‘state of matter’ in the eyes of chickens

George Divorsky in io9:

ScreenHunter_539 Feb. 26 13.31An unusual arrangement of particles has been discovered in the cells of chicken eyes. It's the first time scientists have seen such a system in a biological system — one that allows materials to behave like both a crystal and a liquid.

The unique arrangement is called “disordered hyperuniformity,” and it could help researchers design advanced materials, such as optics that can transmit light with the efficiency of a crystal and the flexibility of a liquid.

When matter is organized into states of disordered hyperuniformity, it exhibits order over large distances and disorder over small distances. At one level, it's like a crystal that greatly suppresses differences in the density of particles across large spatial distances. But at another scale, it's liquid-like in that it exhibits similar physical properties in all directions.

More here.