Indexed on: 07 Apr '10Published on: 07 Apr '10Published in: Physical review. E, Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics
A free vortex in excitable media can be displaced and removed by a wave train. However, simple physical arguments suggest that vortices anchored to large inexcitable obstacles cannot be removed similarly. We show that unpinning of vortices attached to obstacles smaller than the core radius of the free vortex is possible through pacing. The wave-train frequency necessary for unpinning increases with the obstacle size and we present a geometric explanation of this dependence. Our model-independent results suggest that decreasing excitability of the medium can facilitate pacing-induced removal of vortices in cardiac tissue.