Drift of spectrally stable shifted states on star graphs

Adilbek Kairzhan, Dmitry E. Pelinovsky, Roy H. Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


When the coefficients of the cubic terms match the coefficients in the boundary conditions at a vertex of a star graph and satisfy a certain constraint, the nonlinear Schrödinger (NLS) equation on the star graph can be transformed to the NLS equation on a real line. Such balanced star graphs have appeared in the context of reflectionless transmission of solitary waves. Steady states on such balanced star graphs can be translated by an arbitrary distance along the edges and are referred to as the shifted states. When the star graph has exactly one incoming edge and several outgoing edges, the steady states are spectrally stable if their monotonic tails are located on the outgoing edges. These spectrally stable states are degenerate minimizers of the action functional with the degeneracy due to the translational symmetry. Nonlinear stability of these spectrally stable states has been an open problem up to now. In this paper, we prove that these spectrally stable states are nonlinearly unstable due to an irreversible drift along the incoming edge toward the vertex of the star graph. When the shifted states reach the vertex as a result of the drift, they become saddle points of the action functional, in which case the nonlinear instability leads to their destruction. In addition to rigorous mathematical results, we use numerical simulations to illustrate the drift instability and destruction of the shifted states on the balanced star graph.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1723-1755
Number of pages33
JournalSIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation


  • Conserved quantities
  • Modulation equations
  • Nonlinear Schrödinger equation
  • Orbital stability of nonlinear waves
  • Reflectionless transmission
  • Symmetries


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