Network experiment demonstrates converse symmetry breaking

Ferenc Molnar, Takashi Nishikawa*, Adilson E. Motter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Symmetry breaking—the phenomenon in which the symmetry of a system is not inherited by its stable states—underlies pattern formation, superconductivity and numerous other effects. Recent theoretical work has established the possibility of converse symmetry breaking, a phenomenon in which the stable states are symmetric only when the system itself is not. This includes scenarios in which interacting entities are required to be non-identical in order to exhibit identical behaviour, such as in reaching consensus. Here we present an experimental demonstration of this phenomenon. Using a network of alternating-current electromechanical oscillators, we show that their ability to achieve identical frequency synchronization is enhanced when the oscillators are tuned to be suitably non-identical and that converse symmetry breaking persists for a range of noise levels. These results have implications for the optimization and control of network dynamics in a broad class of systems whose function benefits from harnessing uniform behaviour.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-356
Number of pages6
JournalNature Physics
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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