Effect of noise and perturbations on limit cycle systems

Christian Kurrer, Klaus Schulten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper demonstrates that the influence of noise and of external perturbations on a nonlinear oscillator can vary strongly along the limit cycle and upon transition from limit cycle to stationary point behaviour. For this purpose we consider the role of noise on the Bonhoeffer-van der Pol model in a range of control parameters where the model exhibits a limit cycle, but the parameters are close to values corresponding to a stable stationary point. Our analysis is based on the van Kampen approximation for solutions of the Fokker-Planck equation in the limit of weak noise. We investigate first separately the effect of noise on motion tangential and normal to the limit cycle. The key result is that noise induces diffusion-like spread along the limit cycle, but quasistationary behaviour normal to the limit cycle. We then describe the coupled motion and show that noise acting in the normal direction can strongly enhance diffusion along the limit cycle. We finally argue that the variability of the system's response to noise can be exploited in populations of nonlinear oscillators in that weak coupling can induce synchronization as long as the single oscillators operate in a regime close to the transition between oscillatory and excitatory modes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-320
Number of pages10
JournalPhysica D: Nonlinear Phenomena
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Applied Mathematics

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