Dynamics of traveling pulses in heterogeneous media

Yasumasa Nishiura, Takashi Teramoto, Xiaohui Yuan, Kei Ichi Ueda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


One of the fundamental issues of pulse dynamics in dissipative systems is clarifying how the heterogeneity in the media influences the propagating manner. Heterogeneity is the most important and ubiquitous type of external perturbation. We focus on a class of one-dimensional traveling pulses, the associated parameters of which are close to drift and/or saddle-node bifurcations. The advantage in studying the dynamics in such a class is twofold: First, it gives us a perfect microcosm for the variety of outputs in a general setting when pulses encounter heterogeneities. Second, it allows us to reduce the original partial differential equation dynamics to a tractable finite-dimensional system. Such pulses are sensitive when they run into heterogeneities and show rich responses such as annihilation, pinning, splitting, rebound, as well as penetration. The reduced ordinary differential equations (ODEs) explain all these dynamics and the underlying bifurcational structure controlling the transitions among different dynamic regimes. It turns out that there are hidden ordered patterns associated with the critical points of ODEs that play a pivotal role in understanding the responses of the pulse; in fact, the depinning of pulses can be explained in terms of global bifurcations among those critical points. We focus mainly on a bump and periodic types of heterogeneity, however our approach is also applicable to general cases. It should be noted that there appears to be spatio-temporal chaos for a periodic type of heterogeneity when its period becomes comparable with the size of the pulse.

Original languageEnglish
Article number037104
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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