"Experimental study of random close packed colloidal particles"
R Kurita & ER Weeks, Phys. Rev. E 82, 011403 (2010).

A collection of spherical particles can be packed tightly together into an amorphous packing known as "random close packing" (RCP). This structure is of interest as a model for the arrangement of molecules in simple liquids and glasses, as well as the arrangement of particles in sand piles. We use confocal microscopy to study the arrangement of colloidal particles in an experimentally realized RCP state. We image a large volume containing more than 500,000 particles with a resolution of each particle position to better than 0.02 particle diameters. While the arrangement of the particles satisfies multiple criteria for being random, we also observe a small fraction (less than 3%) of tiny crystallites (4 particles or fewer). These regions pack slightly better and are thus associated with locally higher densities. The structure factor of our sample at long length scales is non-zero, $S(0) \approx 0.049$, suggesting that there are long wavelength density fluctuations in our sample, perhaps due to the tiny crystallites. Our results suggest that experimentally realizable RCP systems may be different from simulated RCP systems, in particular, with the presence of these long wavelength density fluctuations.