Propagation failure in excitable media

A. Hagberg, E. Meron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


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 et al. Chaos 4, 519 (1994)] or a transverse instability [M. Markus, G. Kloss, and I. Kusch, Nature (London) 371, 402 (1994)] are manifestations of this mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-303
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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