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Using weak impulses to suppress traveling waves in excitable media.

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Center for BioDynamics and Department of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University, 44 Cummington Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


Here we propose mechanisms for suppressing non-steady-state motions--propagating pulses, spiral waves, spiral-wave chaos--in excitable media. Our approach is based on two points: (1) excitable media are multistable; and (2) traveling waves in excitable media can be separated into fast and slow motions, which can be considered independently. We show that weak impulses can be used to change the values of the slow variable at the front and back of a traveling wave, which leads to wave front and wave back velocities that are different from each other. This effect can destabilize the traveling wave, resulting in a transition to the rest state.


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