Letter | Published:

Multi-armed vortices in an active chemical medium

Nature volume 296, pages 424426 (01 April 1982) | Download Citation

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Abstract

An excellent example of self-organization in nonequilibrium systems1,2 is the origination of rotating spiral vortices. These vortices have been observed in a wide range of active media—in the morphogenesis processes of social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum3,4, in cardiac muscle during some arrhythmias5 and in the Belousov–Zhabotinsky reaction6–9. All these vortices are simple spirals. The rotating structures of a higher order of symmetry such as multiarmed vortices have not previously been observed experimentally. We have obtained two-, three- and four-armed rotating spiral vortices in an active chemical medium. These structures were appreciably stable and we observed their rotation for more than half an hour, which was in striking contrast to unstable multiple vortices in many other physical systems (such as superfluid 4He or superconductors10,11).

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Institute of Biophysics, USSR Academy of Sciences, 142292 Pushchino, Moscow Region, USSR

    • K. I. Agladze
    •  & V. I. Krinsky

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/296424a0

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