Abstract:
We analyze a singularly perturbed reaction-diffusion system in the semi-strong diffusion regime in two spatial dimensions where an activator species is localized to a closed curve, while the inhibitor species exhibits long range behavior over the domain. In the limit of small activator diffusivity we derive a new moving boundary problem characterizing the slow time evolution of the curve, which is defined in terms of a quasi steady-state inhibitor diffusion field and its properties on the curve. Numerical results from this curve evolution problem are illustrated for the Gierer-Meinhardt model (GMS) with saturation in the activator kinetics. A detailed analysis of the existence, stability, and dynamics of ring and near-ring solutions for the GMS model is given, whereby the activator concentrates on a thin ring concentric within a circular domain. A key new result for this ring geometry is that by including activator saturation there is a qualitative change in the phase portrait of ring equilibria, in that there is an S-shaped bifurcation diagram for ring equilibria, which allows for hysteresis behavior. In contrast, without saturation, it is well-known that there is a saddle-node bifurcation for the ring equilibria. For a near-circular ring, we develop an asymptotic expansion up to quadratic order to fully characterize the normal
velocity perturbations from our curve-evolution problem. In addition,
we also analyze the linear stability of the ring solution to both
breakup instabilities, leading to the disintegration of a ring into
localized spots, and zig-zag instabilities, leading to the slow shape
deformation of the ring. We show from a nonlocal eigenvalue problem
that activator saturation can stabilize breakup patterns that
otherwise would be unstable. Through a detailed matched asymptotic
analysis, we derive a new explicit formula for the small eigenvalues
associated with zig-zag instabilities, and we show that they are
equivalent to the velocity perturbations induced by the near-circular
ring geometry. Finally, we present full numerical simulations from
the GMS PDE system that confirm the predictions of the analysis.