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Phys Rev Lett. 2009 Apr 17;102(15):158301. Epub 2009 Apr 17.

Emergence of collective behavior in groups of excitable catalyst-loaded particles: spatiotemporal dynamical quorum sensing.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia 26506, USA.


Spontaneous spatiotemporal wave activity occurs in groups of excitable particles for groups larger than a critical size. Experiments are carried out with particles loaded with the catalyst of the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction that are immersed in catalyst-free reaction mixture. The particles diffusively exchange activator and inhibitor species with the surrounding solution. All particles are nonoscillatory when separated from the other particles; however, target and spiral waves are exhibited in sufficiently large groups. A cellular particle model of the system also exhibits transitions from excitable steady state behavior to spatiotemporal wave activity with increasing group size.

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