Chaos is an inherently dynamical phenomenon traditionally studied for trajectories that are either permanently erratic or transiently influenced by permanently erratic ones lying on a set of measure zero. The latter gives rise to the final state sensitivity observed in connection with fractal basin boundaries in conservative scattering systems and driven dissipative systems. Here we focus on the most prevalent case of undriven dissipative systems, whose transient dynamics fall outside the scope of previous studies since no time-dependent solutions can exist for asymptotically long times. We show that such systems can exhibit positive finite-time Lyapunov exponents and fractal-like basin boundaries which nevertheless have codimension one. In sharp contrast to its driven and conservative counterparts, the settling rate to the (fixed-point) attractors grows exponentially in time, meaning that the fraction of trajectories away from the attractors decays superexponentially. While no invariant chaotic sets exist in such cases, the irregular behavior is governed by transient interactions with transient chaotic saddles, which act as effective, time-varying chaotic sets.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)