Propagation failure in excitable media Academic Article uri icon


  • We study a mechanism of pulse propagation failure in excitable media where stable traveling pulse solutions appear via a subcritical pitchfork bifurcation. The bifurcation plays a key role in that mechanism. Small perturbations, externally applied or from internal instabilities, may cause pulse propagation failure (wave breakup) provided the system is close enough to the bifurcation point. We derive relations showing how the pitchfork bifurcation is unfolded by weak curvature or advective field perturbations and use them to demonstrate wave breakup. We suggest that the recent observations of wave breakup in the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction induced by either an electric field [J.J. Taboada {ital et al.}. Chaos {bold 4}, 519 (1994)] or a transverse instability [M. Markus, G. Kloss, and I. Kusch, Nature (London) {bold 371}, 402 (1994)] are manifestations of this mechanism. {copyright} {ital 1998} {ital The American Physical Society}

publication date

  • January 1, 1998