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Phase reduction approach to synchronisation of nonlinear oscillators

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Systems of dynamical elements exhibiting spontaneous rhythms are found in various fields of science and engineering, including physics, chemistry, biology, physiology, and mechanical and electrical engineering. Such dynamical elements are often modelled as nonlinear limit-cycle oscillators. In this article, we briefly review phase reduction theory, which is a simple and powerful method for analysing the synchronisation properties of limit-cycle oscillators exhibiting rhythmic dynamics. Through phase reduction theory, we can systematically simplify the nonlinear multi-dimensional differential equations describing a limit-cycle oscillator to a one-dimensional phase equation, which is much easier to analyse. Classical applications of this theory, i.e. the phase locking of an oscillator to a periodic external forcing and the mutual synchronisation of interacting oscillators, are explained. Further, more recent applications of this theory to the synchronisation of non-interacting oscillators induced by common noise and the dynamics of coupled oscillators on complex networks are discussed. We also comment on some recent advances in phase reduction theory for noise-driven oscillators and rhythmic spatiotemporal patterns.
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Keywords: nonlinear oscillators; phase models; rhythmic phenomena; synchronisation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Graduate School of Information Science and Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan.

Publication date: 02 April 2016

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