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Sci Rep. 2013;3:1281. doi: 10.1038/srep01281.

Explosive transitions to synchronization in networks of phase oscillators.

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Complex Systems Group, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, 28933 Móstoles, Madrid, Spain.


The emergence of dynamical abrupt transitions in the macroscopic state of a system is currently a subject of the utmost interest. The occurrence of a first-order phase transition to synchronization of an ensemble of networked phase oscillators was reported, so far, for very particular network architectures. Here, we show how a sharp, discontinuous transition can occur, instead, as a generic feature of networks of phase oscillators. Precisely, we set conditions for the transition from unsynchronized to synchronized states to be first-order, and demonstrate how these conditions can be attained in a very wide spectrum of situations. We then show how the occurrence of such transitions is always accompanied by the spontaneous setting of frequency-degree correlation features. Third, we show that the conditions for abrupt transitions can be even softened in several cases. Finally, we discuss, as a possible application, the use of this phenomenon to express magnetic-like states of synchronization.

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