Bifurcation and stability analysis of rotating chemical spirals in circular domains: Boundary-induced meandering and stabilization

Markus Bär, Anil K. Bangia, Ioannis G. Kevrekidis

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4 Scopus citations


Recent experimental and model studies have revealed that the domain size may strongly influence the dynamics of rotating spirals in two-dimensional pattern forming chemical reactions. Hartmann et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 76, 1384 (1996)], report a frequency increase of spirals in circular domains with diameters substantially smaller than the spiral wavelength in a large domain for the catalytic [Formula presented] reaction on a microstructured platinum surface. Accompanying simulations with a simple reaction-diffusion system reproduced the behavior. Here, we supplement these studies by a numerical bifurcation and stability analysis of rotating spirals in a simple activator-inhibitor model. The problem is solved in a corotating frame of reference. No-flux conditions are imposed at the boundary of the circular domain. At large domain sizes, eigenvalues and eigenvectors very close to those corresponding to infinite medium translational invariance are observed. Upon decrease of domain size, we observe a simultaneous change in the rotation frequency and a deviation of these eigenvalues from being neutrally stable (zero real part). The latter phenomenon indicates that the translation symmetry of the spiral solution is appreciably broken due to the interaction with the (now nearby) wall. Various dynamical regimes are found: first, the spiral simply tries to avoid the boundary and its tip moves towards the center of the circular domain corresponding to a negative real part of the “translational” eigenvalues. This effect is noticeable at a domain radius of [Formula presented] The spiral subsequently exhibits an oscillatory instability: the tip trajectory displays a meandering motion, which may be characterized as boundary-induced spiral meandering. A systematic study of the spiral rotation as a function of a control parameter and the domain size reveals that the meandering instability in large domains becomes suppressed, and the spiral rotation becomes rigid, at a critical radius [Formula presented] Boundary-induced meandering arises below a second critical radius [Formula presented].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7
Number of pages1
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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