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Chaos. 2013 Sep;23(3):033113. doi: 10.1063/1.4813600.

A period-doubling cascade precedes chaos for planar maps.

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  • 1Department of Mathematical Sciences, George Mason University, 4400 University Dr., Fairfax, Virginia 22030, USA.


A period-doubling cascade is often seen in numerical studies of those smooth (one-parameter families of) maps for which as the parameter is varied, the map transitions from one without chaos to one with chaos. Our emphasis in this paper is on establishing the existence of such a cascade for many maps with phase space dimension 2. We use continuation methods to show the following: under certain general assumptions, if at one parameter there are only finitely many periodic orbits, and at another parameter value there is chaos, then between those two parameter values there must be a cascade. We investigate only families that are generic in the sense that all periodic orbit bifurcations are generic. Our method of proof in showing there is one cascade is to show there must be infinitely many cascades. We discuss in detail two-dimensional families like those which arise as a time-2π maps for the Duffing equation and the forced damped pendulum equation.

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