Localized Patterns & Spatial Heterogeneitie

15 October 2015
Arjen Doelman

We consider the impact of spatial heterogeneities on the dynamics of 
localized patterns in systems of partial differential equations (in one 
spatial dimension). We will mostly focus on the most simple possible 
heterogeneity: a small jump-like defect that appears in models in which 
some parameters change in value as the spatial variable x crosses 
through a critical value -- which can be due to natural inhomogeneities, 
as is typically the case in ecological models, or can be imposed on the 
model for engineering purposes, as in Josephson junctions. Even such a 
small, simplified heterogeneity may have a crucial impact on the 
dynamics of the PDE. We will especially consider the effect of the 
heterogeneity on the existence of defect solutions, which boils down to 
finding heteroclinic (or homoclinic) orbits in an n-dimensional 
dynamical system in `time' x, for which the vector field for x > 0 
differs slightly from that for x < 0 (under the assumption that there is 
such an orbit in the homogeneous problem). Both the dimension of the 
problem and the nature of the linearized system near the limit points 
have a remarkably rich impact on the defect solutions. We complement the 
general approach by considering two explicit examples: a heterogeneous 
extended Fisher–Kolmogorov equation (n = 4) and a heterogeneous 
generalized FitzHugh–Nagumo system (n = 6).

  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar