Identical Phase Oscillator Networks: Bifurcations, Symmetry and Reversibility for Generalized Coupling

Peter Ashwin*, Christian Bick, Oleksandr Burylko

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


For a system of coupled identical phase oscillators with full permutation symmetry, any broken symmetries in dynamical behavior must come from spontaneous symmetry breaking, i.e., from the nonlinear dynamics of the system. The dynamics of phase differences for such a system depends only on the coupling (phase interaction) function g(φ) and the number of oscillators N. This paper briefly reviews some results for such systems in the case of general coupling g before exploring two cases in detail: (a) general two harmonic form: g(φ) = qsin(φ − α) + rsin(2φ − β) and N small (b) the coupling g is odd or even. We extend previously published bifurcation analyses to the general two harmonic case, and show for even g that the dynamics of phase differences has a number of time-reversal symmetries. For the case of even g with one harmonic it is known the system has N − 2 constants of the motion. This is true for N = 4 and any g, while for N = 4 and more than two harmonics in g, we show the system must have fewer independent constants of the motion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7
JournalFrontiers in Applied Mathematics and Statistics
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2016 Ashwin, Bick and Burylko.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • bifurcation analysis
  • heteroclinic orbits
  • Kuramoto network
  • phase oscillator
  • symmetry breaking
  • time reversal symmetry


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