Switching chimeras

Abstract

We report on a new type of chimera state that attracts almost all initial conditions and exhibits power-law switching behavior in networks of coupled oscillators. Such switching chimeras consist of two symmetric configurations, which we refer to as subchimeras, in which one cluster is synchronized and the other is incoherent. Despite each subchimera being linearly stable, switching chimeras are extremely sensitive to noise: arbitrarily small noise triggers and sustains persistent switching between the two symmetric subchimeras. The average switching frequency scales as a power law with the noise intensity, which is in contrast with the exponential scaling observed in typical stochastic transitions. Rigorous numerical analysis reveals that the power-law switching behavior originates from intermingled basins of attraction associated with the two subchimeras, which in turn are induced by chaos and symmetry in the system. The theoretical results are supported by experiments on coupled optoelectronic oscillators, which demonstrate the generality and robustness of switching chimeras.

Intermingled basins of switching chimeras

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Animation

This clip shows the dynamics of a switching chimera state and its space-time plot. The switching between the coherent and incoherent clusters can be triggered by arbitrarily small noise.

References