The Structure of the Core of the Spiral Wave in the Belousov-Zhabotinskii Reaction

Science  08 Nov 1985:
Vol. 230, Issue 4726, pp. 661-663
DOI: 10.1126/science.230.4726.661


The quantitative structure of the core of the spiral-shaped traveling wave of chemical activity appearing in a thin excitable layer of the Belousov-Zhabotinskii reaction, in which the oxidation and decarboxylation of malonic acid by bromate ions is catalyzed by ferroin, was analyzed experimentally. Light absorption by ferroin as the reduced reaction catalyst and indicator was measured by means of a video-and computer-based two-dimensional spectrophotometer with 10-micrometer spatial, 2-second temporal, and 256-digital units intensity resolution. The spiral core is a singular site (diameter, 30 micrometers or less) at which intensity modulations due to ferroin-ferriin distributions are at least ten times smaller than in the surrounding area of spiral propagation. Archimedian spirals were fitted to isoconcentration lines.