Localized hexagon patterns of the planar Swift-Hohenberg equation

David J.B. Lloyd, Björn Sandstede, Daniele Avitabile, Alan R. Champneys

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We investigate stationary spatially localized hexagon patterns of the two-dimensional (2D) Swift Hohenberg equation in the parameter region where the trivial state and regular hexagon patterns are both stable. Using numerical continuation techniques, we trace out the existence regions of fully localized hexagon patches and of planar pulses which consist of a strip filled with hexagons that is embedded in the trivial state. We find that these patterns exhibit snaking: for each parameter value in the snaking region, an infinite number of patterns exist that are connected in parameter space and whose width increases without bound. Our computations also indicate a relation between the limits of the snaking regions of planar hexagon pulses with different orientations and of the fully localized hexagon patches. To investigate which hexagons among the one-parameter family of hexagons are selected in a hexagon pulse or front, we derive a conserved quantity of the spatial dynamical system that describes planar patterns which are periodic in the transverse direction and use it to calculate the Maxwell curves along which the selected hexagons have the same energy as the trivial state. We find that the Maxwell curve lies within the snaking region, as expected from heuristic arguments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1049-1100
Number of pages52
JournalSIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Hexagons
  • Localized patterns
  • Spots
  • Swift-Hohenberg equation
  • Turing bifurcation


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