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Training and Research Experiences in Nonlinear Dynamics

Synchronization Patterns in Optoelectronic Networks

Rajarshi Roy (Laboratory for Nonlinear Dynamics in Optical Systems) and Thomas Murphy (Photonics Research Laboratory)

Synchronization, the dramatic phenomenon in which interconnected dynamical systems evolve in unison, is observed in a variety of man-made and natural systems, including power distribution, telecommunications, and biological networks. The question of whether and how networks synchronize, and the relationship between network topology and synchronization, are of fundamental importance in each of these examples.

Students working on these projects experimentally investigate synchronization phenomena in optoelectronic networks and address important open questions, such as:

  • Why do networks form clusters of synchrony?
  • Can we predict or control the patterns of synchony in a network?
  • Are some network topologies easier to synchronize than others?

The research questions are accessible to students from a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds and introduces students to lasers, fiber optic instrumentation, programmable electronics, instrument automation, and numerical simulation. This research provides a rare opportunity to apply these newly acquired skills to answer scientific questions in a new and rapidly developing field: the spatio-temporal dynamics of networks. 

Professors Murphy and Roy have mentored more than a dozen undergraduates through the TREND program alone, resulting in several publications, including a Physical Review Letters publication on synchrony and bidirectional communication with delay-coupled nonlinear oscillators. Two recent PhD students in the Roy/Murphy lab are former TREND alumni. 

Additional information about nonlinear dynamics in synchronization patterns in optoelectronic networks can be found by contacting Rajarshi Roy at 301-405-1636 or or Thomas Murphy at 301-405-3602 or