Journal of Statistical Physics

, Volume 74, Issue 5–6, pp 1047–1084 | Cite as

Amplitude expansions for instabilities in populations of globally-coupled oscillators

  • John David Crawford


We analyze the nonlinear dynamics near the incoherent state in a mean-field model of coupled oscillators. The population is described by a Fokker-Planck equation for the distribution of phases, and we apply center-manifold reduction to obtain the amplitude equations for steady-state and Hopf bifurcation from the equilibrium state with a uniform phase distribution. When the population is described by a native frequency distribution that is reflection-symmetric about zero, the problem has circular symmetry. In the limit of zero extrinsic noise, although the critical eigenvalues are embedded in the continuous spectrum, the nonlinear coefficients in the amplitude equation remain finite, in contrast to the singular behavior found in similar instabilities described by the Vlasov-Poisson equation. For a bimodal reflection-symmetric distribution, both types of bifurcation are possible and they coincide at a codimension-two Takens-Bogdanov point. The steady-state bifurcation may be supercritical or subcritical and produces a time-independent synchronized state. The Hopf bifurcation produces both supercritical stable standing waves and supercritical unstable traveling waves. Previous work on the Hopf bifurcation in a bimodal population by Bonilla, Neu, and Spigler and by Okuda and Kuramoto predicted stable traveling waves and stable standing waves, respectively. A comparison to these previous calculations shows that the prediction of stable traveling waves results from a failure to include all unstable modes.

Key Words

Oscillators bifurcation symmetry synchronization 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • John David Crawford
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburgh

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