Localised patterns and semi-strong interaction, a unifying framework for reaction-diffusion systems

Speaker: Alan Champneys

Date: Mon, May 10, 2021

Location: UBC, Online

Conference: PIMS Workshop on New Trends in Localized Patterns in PDES

Subject: Mathematics

Class: Scientific


Systems of activator-inhibitor reaction-diffusion equations posed on an infinite line are studied using a variety of analytical and numerical methods. A canonical form is considered that contains all known models with simple cubic autocatalytic nonlinearity and arbitrary constant and linear kinetics. Restricting attention at first to models that have a unique homogeneous equilibrium, this class includes the classical Schnakenberg and Brusselator models, as well as other systems proposed in the literature to model morphogenesis. Such models are known to feature Turing instability, when activator diffuses more slowly than inhibitor, leading to stable spatially periodic patterns. Conversely in the limit of small feed rates, semi-strong interaction asymptotic analysis as introduced by Michael Ward and his collaborators shows existence of isolated spike-like patterns.

Connecting these two regions, a certain universal two-parameter state diagram is revealed in which the Turing bifurcation becomes sub-critical, leading to the onset of homoclinic snaking. This regime then morphs into the spike regime, with the outer-fold being predicted by the semi-strong asymptotics. A rescaling of parameters and field concentrations shows how this state diagram can be studied independently of the diffusion rates. Temporal dynamics is found to strongly depend on the diffusion ratio though. A Hopf bifurcation occurs along the branch of stable spikes, which is subcritical for small diffusion ratio, leading to collapse to the homogeneous state. As the diffusion ratio increases, this bifurcation typically becomes supercritical, interacts with the homoclinic snaking and also with a supercritical homogeneous Hopf bifurcation, leading to complex spatio-temporal dynamics. The details are worked out for a number of different models that fit the theory using a mixture of weakly nonlinear analysis, semi-strong asymptotics and different numerical continuation algorithms.

The theory is extended include models, such as Gray-Scott, with bistability of homogeneous equilibria. A homotopy is studied that takes a Schnakenberg-like glycolysis model for r = 0 to the Gray-Scott model for r = 1. Numerical continuation is used to understand the complete sequence of transitions to two-parameter bifurcation diagrams within the localised pattern parameter regime as r varies. Several distinct codimension-two bifurcations are dis-covered including cusp and quadruple zero points for homogeneous steady states, a degenerate heteroclinic connection and a change in connectedness of the homoclinic snaking structure. The analysis is repeated for the Gierer-Meinhardt system, which lies outside the canonical framework. Similar transitions are found under homotopy between bifurcation diagrams for the case where there is a constant feed in the active field, to it being in the inactive field. Wider implications of the results are discussed for other kinds of pattern-formation systems as well as to distinguishing between different kinds of observed behaviour in the natural world.