Period-doubling route to mixed-mode chaos

Phys Rev E. 2021 Aug;104(2-1):024211. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevE.104.024211.

Abstract

Mixed-mode oscillations (MMOs) are a complex dynamical behavior in which each cycle of oscillation consists of one or more large amplitude spikes followed by one or more small amplitude peaks. MMOs typically undergo period-adding bifurcations under parameter variation. We demonstrate here, in a set of three identical, linearly coupled van der Pol oscillators, a scenario in which MMOs exhibit a period-doubling sequence to chaos that preserves the MMO structure, as well as period-adding bifurcations. We characterize the chaotic nature of the MMOs and attribute their existence to a master-slave-like forcing of the inner oscillator by the outer two with a sufficient phase difference between them. Simulations of a single nonautonomous oscillator forced by two sine functions support this interpretation and suggest that the MMO period-doubling scenario may be more general.