Essential instability of pulses and bifurcations to modulated travelling waves

B. Sandstede, A. Scheel

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Reaction-diffusion systems on the real line are considered. Localized travelling waves become unstable when the essential spectrum of the linearization about them crosses the imaginary axis. In this article, it is shown that this transition to instability is accompanied by the bifurcation of a family of large patterns that are a superposition of the primary travelling wave with steady spatially periodic patterns of small amplitude. The bifurcating patterns can be parametrized by the wavelength of the steady patterns; they are time-periodic in a moving frame. A major difficulty in analysing this bifurcation is its genuinely infinite-dimensional nature. In particular, finite-dimensional Lyapunov-Schmidt reductions or centre-manifold theory do not seem to be applicable to pulses having their essential spectrum touching the imaginary axis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1263-1290
Number of pages28
JournalRoyal Society of Edinburgh - Proceedings A
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The main part of this work was done while we were visiting the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (Minneapolis, USA). We thank the IMA for providing a stimulating atmosphere and for the financial support with funds provided by the National Science Foundation.


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