Indexed on: 27 Aug '11Published on: 27 Aug '11Published in: Physical review. E, Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics
This study explores a method to characterize the temporal structure of intermittent phase locking in oscillatory systems. When an oscillatory system is in a weakly synchronized regime away from a synchronization threshold, it spends most of the time in parts of its phase space away from the synchronization state. Therefore characteristics of dynamics near this state (such as its stability properties and Lyapunov exponents or distributions of the durations of synchronized episodes) do not describe the system's dynamics for most of the time. We consider an approach to characterize the system dynamics in this case by exploring the relationship between the phases on each cycle of oscillations. If some overall level of phase locking is present, one can quantify when and for how long phase locking is lost, and how the system returns back to the phase-locked state. We consider several examples to illustrate this approach: coupled skewed tent maps, the stability of which can be evaluated analytically; coupled Rössler and Lorenz oscillators, undergoing through different intermittency types on the way to phase synchronization; and a more complex example of coupled neurons. We show that the obtained measures can describe the differences in the dynamics and temporal structure of synchronization and desynchronization events for the systems with a similar overall level of phase locking and similar stability of the synchronized state.