Stabilizing unstable periodic orbits in the Lorenz equations using time-delayed feedback control

Claire M. Postlethwaite*, Mary Silber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


For many years it was believed that an unstable periodic orbit with an odd number of real Floquet multipliers greater than unity cannot be stabilized by the time-delayed feedback control mechanism of Pyragas. A recent paper by Fiedler Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 114101 (2007) uses the normal form of a subcritical Hopf bifurcation to give a counterexample to this theorem. Using the Lorenz equations as an example, we demonstrate that the stabilization mechanism identified by Fiedler for the Hopf normal form can also apply to unstable periodic orbits created by subcritical Hopf bifurcations in higher-dimensional dynamical systems. Our analysis focuses on a particular codimension-two bifurcation that captures the stabilization mechanism in the Hopf normal form example, and we show that the same codimension-two bifurcation is present in the Lorenz equations with appropriately chosen Pyragas-type time-delayed feedback. This example suggests a possible strategy for choosing the feedback gain matrix in Pyragas control of unstable periodic orbits that arise from a subcritical Hopf bifurcation of a stable equilibrium. In particular, our choice of feedback gain matrix is informed by the Fiedler example, and it works over a broad range of parameters, despite the fact that a center-manifold reduction of the higher-dimensional problem does not lead to their model problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number056214
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 27 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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