Diffusive wave dynamics beyond the continuum limit


Dieterle PB, Amir A. Diffusive wave dynamics beyond the continuum limit. Physical Review E. 2021;104 (1).


Scientists have observed and studied diffusive waves in contexts as disparate as population genetics and cell signaling. Often, these waves are propagated by discrete entities or agents, such as individual cells in the case of cell signaling. For a broad class of diffusive waves, we characterize the transition between the collective propagation of diffusive waves -- in which the wave speed is well-described by continuum theory -- and the propagation of diffusive waves by individual agents. We show that this transition depends heavily on the dimensionality of the system in which the wave propagates and that disordered systems yield dynamics largely consistent with lattice systems. In some system dimensionalities, the intuition that closely packed sources more accurately mimic a continuum can be grossly violated.

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Last updated on 07/15/2021