October  2004, 10(4): 925-940. doi: 10.3934/dcds.2004.10.925

A nonlocal eigenvalue problem for the stability of a traveling wave in a neuronal medium


Department of Mathematics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, United States

Received  September 2002 Revised  October 2003 Published  March 2004

Past work on stability analysis of traveling waves in neuronal media has mostly focused on linearization around perturbations of spike times and has been done in the context of a restricted class of models. In theory, stability of such solutions could be affected by more general forms of perturbations. In the main result of this paper, linearization about more general perturbations is used to derive an eigenvalue problem for the stability of a traveling wave solution in the biophysically derived theta model, for which stability of waves has not previously been considered. The resulting eigenvalue problem is a nonlocal equation. This can be integrated to yield a reduced integral equation relating eigenvalues and wave speed, which is itself related to the Evans function for the nonlocal eigenvalue problem. I show that one solution to the nonlocal equation is the derivative of the wave, corresponding to translation invariance. Further, I establish that there is no unstable essential spectrum for this problem, that the magnitude of eigenvalues is bounded, and that for a special but commonly assumed form of coupling, any possible eigenfunctions for real, positive eigenvalues are nonmonotone on $(-\infty,0)$.
Citation: Jonathan E. Rubin. A nonlocal eigenvalue problem for the stability of a traveling wave in a neuronal medium. Discrete & Continuous Dynamical Systems, 2004, 10 (4) : 925-940. doi: 10.3934/dcds.2004.10.925

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