R. A. Gray, J. P. Wikswo, N. F. Otani, Origin choice and petal loss in the flower garden of spiral wave tip trajectories, Chaos 19, 033118 (2009).


Rotating spiral waves have been observed in numerous biological and physical systems. These spiral waves can be stationary, meander, or even degenerate into multiple unstable rotating waves. The spatiotemporal behavior of spiral waves has been extensively quantified by tracking spiral wave tip trajectories. However, the precise methodology of identifying the spiral wave tip and its influence on the specific patterns of behavior remains a largely unexplored topic of research. Here we use a two-state variable FitzHugh–Nagumo model to simulate stationary and meandering spiral waves and examine the spatiotemporal representation of the system’s state variables in both the real (i.e., physical) and state spaces. We show that mapping between these two spaces provides a method to demarcate the spiral wave tip as the center of rotation of the solution to the underlying nonlinear partial differential equations. This approach leads to the simplest tip trajectories by eliminating portions resulting from the rotational component of the spiral wave.