Numerical Method for Homoclinic and Heteroclinic Orbits of Neuron Models

Bo Deng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A twisted heteroclinic cycle was proved to exist more than twenty-five years ago for the reaction-diffusion FitzHugh-Nagumo equations in their traveling wave moving frame. The result implies the existence of infinitely many traveling front waves and infinitely many traveling back waves for the system. However efforts to numerically render the twisted cycle were not fruitful for the main reason that such orbits are structurally unstable. Presented here is a bisectional search method for the primary types of traveling wave solutions for the type of bistable reaction-diffusion systems the FitzHugh-Nagumo equations represent. The algorithm converges at a geometric rate and the wave speed can be approximated to significant precision in principle. The method is then applied for a recently obtained axon model with the conclusion that twisted heteroclinic cycle maybe more of a theoretical artifact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-45
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Nonlinear Modeling and Analysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • bisection method
  • FitzHugh-Nagumo equations
  • singular perturbation
  • twisted heteroclinic loop bifurcation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics (miscellaneous)
  • Analysis
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Modeling and Simulation


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