Defects in oscillatory media: Toward a classification

Björn Sandstede, Arnd Scheel

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95 Scopus citations


We investigate, in a systematic fashion, coherent structures, or defects, which serve as interfaces between wave trains with possibly different wavenumbers in reaction-diffusion systems. We propose a classification of defects into four different defect classes which have all been observed experimentally. The characteristic distinguishing these classes is the sign of the group velocities of the wave trains to either side of the defect, measured relative to the speed of the defect. Using a spatial-dynamics description in which defects correspond to homoclinic and heteroclinic connections of an ill-posed pseudoelliptic equation, we then relate robustness properties of defects to their spectral stability properties. Last, we illustrate that all four types of defects occur in the one-dimensional cubic-quintic Ginzburg-Landau equation as a perturbation of the phase-slip vortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-68
Number of pages68
JournalSIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 24 2004


  • Coherent structures
  • Group velocity
  • Pattern formation
  • Spatial dynamics


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