Forma, Vol. 13 (No. 4), pp. 375-386, 1998
Original Paper

Image Processing Techniques to Analyze Traveling Waves

Markus A. Dahlem and Stefan C. Müller

Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg, Institut für Experimentelle Physik, Abteilung Biophysik PF 4120, D-39016 Magdeburg

(Received February 24, 1999; Accepted March 6, 1999)

Keywords: Excitable Media, Spiral Waves, Image Processing

Abstract. Image processing techniques designed to gain information about the dynamics of spiral-shaped waves in excitable media are described. The techniques concern a large variety of systems which combine transport processes such as diffusion with the characteristics of excitability: threshold value, all or none reaction, and refractoriness; the resulting spatial patterns are called excitation waves. Typical spiral waves propagating in such systems can perform quite different meander patterns depending on the properties of the system in terms of its excitability. Facing the quite complex motion of a spiral wave a reduction of the information is essential to characterize generic features of the dynamics. The outlined techniques lead to an automatic detection method for the tip location, that can be used to trace the spiral tip. Thus one obtains the tip trajectory, which provides a good characterization of the wave dynamics.