Diffusive boundary layers in the free-surface excitable medium spiral

David A. Kessler, Herbert Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spiral waves are a ubiquitous feature of the nonequilibrium dynamics of a great variety of excitable systems. In the limit of a large separation in time scale between fast excitation and slow recovery, one can reduce the spiral problem to one involving the motion of a free surface separating the excited and quiescent phases. In this work, we study the free-surface problem in the limit of small diffusivity for the slow field variable. Specifically, we show that a previously found spiral solution in the diffusionless limit can be extended to finite diffusivity, without significant alteration. This extension involves the creation of a variety of boundary layers which cure all the undesirable singularities of the aforementioned solution. The implications of our results for the study of spiral stability are briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R3847-R3850
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997


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