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Geometric phase shifts in chemical oscillators


ONE of the most remarkable developments in quantum mechanics in recent years has been the discovery that when a system is moved adiabatically around a closed loop in parameter space there occurs, besides the familiar dynamical phase shift, an additional phase shift (sometimes referred to as 'Berry's phase) that is purely geometric in nature1–3. The dynamical phase shift, which results from the variation of the period of the oscillatory system with the change in parameters, is relatively easily understood and is proportional to the time over which the parameter change occurs. The geometric phase shift, on the other hand, is less intuitive and depends on the curvature of the surface in parameter space bounded by the closed path, but is independent of the time taken to traverse the circuit. Here we present evidence for time-independent geometric phase shifts in numerical solutions for a model of an oscillating chemical reaction. The conditions for the occurrence of such shifts seem to be sufficiently general that geometric phase effects should be experimentally observable in essentially all chemical oscillators as well as in biological networks such as the brain and the central nervous system, where phase control is of vital importance4.

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