Analytical and Numerical Approaches to Initiation of Excitation Waves
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This thesis studies the problem of initiation of propagation of excitation waves in one- dimensional spatially extended excitable media. In a study which set out to determine an analytical criteria for the threshold conditions, Idris and Biktashev  showed that the linear approximation of the (center-)stable manifold of a certain critical solution yields analytical approximation of the threshold curves, separating initial (or boundary) conditions leading to propagation wave solutions from those leading to decay solutions. The aim of this project is to extend this method to address a wider class of ex- citable systems including multicomponent reaction-diffusion systems, systems with non-self-adjoint linearized operators and in particular, systems with moving critical solutions (critical fronts and critical pulses). In the case of one-component excitable systems where the critical solution is the critical nucleus, we also extend the theory to a quadratic approximation for the purpose of improving the accuracy of the linear approximation. The applicability of the approach is tested through five test problems with either traveling front such as Biktashev model, a simplified cardiac excitation model or traveling pulse solutions including Beeler-Reuter model, near realistic cardiac excitation model. Apart from some exceptional cases, it is not always possible to obtain explicit solution for the essential ingredients of the theory due to the nonlinear nature of the problem. Thus, this thesis also covers a hybrid method, where these ingredients are found numerically. Another important finding of the research is the use of the perturbation theory to find the approximate solution of the essential ingredients of FitzHugh-Nagumo system by using the exact analytical solutions of its primitive ver- sion, Zeldovich-Frank-Kamenetsky equation.
Biktashev, Vadim N.
PhD in Mathematics