Stationary pulses and wave front formation in an excitable medium

T. Bountis, C. F. Starmer, A. Bezerianos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In an excitable medium, the method of phase plane analysis of ODE reductions is often used to separate suprathreshold disturbances that collapse from disturbances that expand and result in a propagating front. Following this approach, we study here pulse formation in 1-Dimensional (1-D) and 2-D media and derive closed form (1-D) and approximate (2-D) expressions for a critical pulse structure, which is stationary but unstable. This critical structure, called a stationary pulse, can be modulated by altering (e.g. adding a constant to) the reaction portion of the reaction-diffusion equation, suggesting a mechanism for extinguishing the initial expanding phase of front formation or for steering a front. We have also studied analytically and numerically the onset of "recovery", leading from a single wavefront to an ordinary action potential wave. Possible applications of these ideas to the development of practical strategies for controlling cardiac arrhythmia are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-33
Number of pages22
JournalProgress of Theoretical Physics Supplement
Issue number139
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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