Emerging Coherence in a Population of Chemical Oscillators

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Science  31 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5573, pp. 1676-1678
DOI: 10.1126/science.1070757

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Coherence of interacting oscillating entities has importance in biological, chemical, and physical systems. We report experiments on populations of chemical oscillators and verify a 25-year-old theory of Kuramoto that predicts that global coupling in a set of smooth limit-cycle oscillators with different frequencies produces a phase transition in which some of the elements synchronize. Both the critical point and the predicted dependence of order on coupling are seen in the experiments. We extend the studies both to relaxation and to chaotic oscillators and characterize the quantitative similarities and differences among the types of systems.

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