WIAS Preprint No. 2465, (2017)

Phase sensitive excitability of a limit cycle


  • Franović, Igor
  • Omel'chenko, Oleh E.
    ORCID: 0000-0003-0526-1878
  • Wolfrum, Matthias

2008 Physics and Astronomy Classification Scheme

  • 89.75.Fb 05.40.Ca


  • Excitability, coherence resonance




The classical notion of excitability refers to an equilibrium state that shows under the influence of perturbations a nonlinear threshold-like behavior. Here, we extend this concept by demonstrating how periodic orbits can exhibit a specific form of excitable behavior where the nonlinear threshold-like response appears only after perturbations applied within a certain part of the periodic orbit, i.e the excitability happens to be phase sensitive. As a paradigmatic example of this concept we employ the classical FitzHugh-Nagumo system. The relaxation oscillations, appearing in the oscillatory regime of this system, turn out to exhibit a phase sensitive nonlinear threshold-like response to perturbations, which can be explained by the nonlinear behavior in the vicinity of the canard trajectory. Triggering the phase sensitive excitability of the relaxation oscillations by noise we find a characteristic non-monotone dependence of the mean spiking rate of the relaxation oscillation on the noise level. We explain this non-monotone dependence as a result of an interplay of two competing effects of the increasing noise: the growing efficiency of the excitation and the degradation of the nonlinear response.

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