Pulse-coupled mixed-mode oscillators: Cluster states and extreme noise sensitivity

Avinash J. Karamchandani, James N. Graham, Hermann Riecke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Motivated by rhythms in the olfactory system of the brain, we investigate the synchronization of all-to-all pulse-coupled neuronal oscillators exhibiting various types of mixed-mode oscillations (MMOs) composed of sub-threshold oscillations (STOs) and action potentials ("spikes"). We focus particularly on the impact of the delay in the interaction. In the weak-coupling regime, we reduce the system to a Kuramoto-type equation with non-sinusoidal phase coupling and the associated Fokker-Planck equation. Its linear stability analysis identifies the appearance of various cluster states. Their type depends sensitively on the delay and the width of the pulses. Interestingly, long delays do not imply slow population rhythms, and the number of emerging clusters only loosely depends on the number of STOs. Direct simulations of the oscillator equations reveal that for quantitative agreement of the weak-coupling theory the coupling strength and the noise have to be extremely small. Even moderate noise leads to significant skipping of STO cycles, which can enhance the diffusion coefficient in the Fokker-Planck equation by two orders of magnitude. Introducing an effective diffusion coefficient extends the range of agreement significantly. Numerical simulations of the Fokker-Planck equation reveal bistability and solutions with oscillatory order parameters that result from nonlinear mode interactions. These are confirmed in simulations of the full spiking model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number043115
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics


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