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Concept: Oscillation


In the 1940s, the first generation of modern computers used vacuum tube oscillators as their principle components, however, with the development of the transistor, such oscillator based computers quickly became obsolete. As the demand for faster and lower power computers continues, transistors are themselves approaching their theoretical limit and emerging technologies must eventually supersede them. With the development of optical oscillators and Josephson junction technology, we are again presented with the possibility of using oscillators as the basic components of computers, and it is possible that the next generation of computers will be composed almost entirely of oscillatory devices. Here, we demonstrate how coupled threshold oscillators may be used to perform binary logic in a manner entirely consistent with modern computer architectures. We describe a variety of computational circuitry and demonstrate working oscillator models of both computation and memory.

Concepts: Vacuum tube, Integrated circuit, Oscillation, Computer, Computation, Computer science, Computing, Electronics


The circadian regulatory network is organized in a hierarchical fashion, with a central oscillator in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) orchestrating circadian oscillations in peripheral tissues. The nature of the relationship between central and peripheral oscillators, however, is poorly understood. We used the tetOFF expression system to specifically restore Clock function in the brains of Clock(Δ19) mice, which have compromised circadian clocks. Rescued mice showed normal locomotor rhythms in constant darkness, with activity period lengths approximating wildtype controls. We used microarray analysis to assess whether brain-specific rescue of circadian rhythmicity was sufficient to restore circadian transcriptional output in the liver. Compared to Clock mutants, Clock-rescue mice showed significantly larger numbers of cycling transcripts with appropriate phase and period lengths, including many components of the core circadian oscillator. This indicates that the SCN oscillator overcomes local circadian defects and signals directly to the molecular clock. Interestingly, the vast majority of core clock genes in liver were responsive to Clock expression in the SCN, suggesting that core clock genes in peripheral tissues are intrinsically sensitive to SCN cues. Nevertheless, most circadian output in the liver was absent or severely low-amplitude in Clock-rescue animals, demonstrating that the majority of peripheral transcriptional rhythms depend on a fully functional local circadian oscillator. We identified several new system-driven rhythmic genes in the liver, including Alas1 and Mfsd2. Finally, we show that 12-hour transcriptional rhythms (i.e., circadian “harmonics”) are disrupted by Clock loss-of-function. Brain-specific rescue of Clock converted 12-hour rhythms into 24-hour rhythms, suggesting that signaling via the central circadian oscillator is required to generate one of the two daily peaks of expression. Based on these data, we conclude that 12-hour rhythms are driven by interactions between central and peripheral circadian oscillators.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Gene expression, Oscillation, Circadian rhythm, Period, Periodic function, CLOCK


Oscillating neuronal circuits, known as central pattern generators (CPGs), are responsible for generating rhythmic behaviours such as walking, breathing and chewing. The CPG model alone however does not account for the ability of animals to adapt their future behaviour to changes in the sensory environment that signal reward. Here, using multi-electrode array (MEA) recording in an established experimental model of centrally generated rhythmic behaviour we show that the feeding CPG of Lymnaea stagnalis is itself associated with another, and hitherto unidentified, oscillating neuronal population. This extra-CPG oscillator is characterised by high population-wide activity alternating with population-wide quiescence. During the quiescent periods the CPG is refractory to activation by food-associated stimuli. Furthermore, the duration of the refractory period predicts the timing of the next activation of the CPG, which may be minutes into the future. Rewarding food stimuli and dopamine accelerate the frequency of the extra-CPG oscillator and reduce the duration of its quiescent periods. These findings indicate that dopamine adapts future feeding behaviour to the availability of food by significantly reducing the refractory period of the brain’s feeding circuitry.

Concepts: Time, Brain, Oscillation, Wave, Dopamine, Periodic function, Lymnaea stagnalis, Refractory period


The coupling of distinct systems underlies nearly all physical phenomena. A basic instance is that of interacting harmonic oscillators, giving rise to, for example, the phonon eigenmodes in a lattice. Of particular importance are the interactions in hybrid quantum systems, which can combine the benefits of each part in quantum technologies. Here we investigate a hybrid optomechanical system having three degrees of freedom, consisting of a microwave cavity and two micromechanical beams with closely spaced frequencies around 32 MHz and no direct interaction. We record the first evidence of tripartite optomechanical mixing, implying that the eigenmodes are combinations of one photonic and two phononic modes. We identify an asymmetric dark mode having a long lifetime. Simultaneously, we operate the nearly macroscopic mechanical modes close to the motional quantum ground state, down to 1.8 thermal quanta, achieved by back-action cooling. These results constitute an important advance towards engineering of entangled motional states.

Concepts: Quantum mechanics, Physics, Laser, Interaction, Oscillation, Wave, Normal mode, Harmonic oscillator


Graphene has received significant attention due to its excellent mechanical properties, which has resulted in the emergence of graphene-based nano-electro-mechanical system such as nanoresonators. The nonlinear vibration of a graphene resonator and its application to mass sensing (based on nonlinear oscillation) have been poorly studied, although a graphene resonator is able to easily reach the nonlinear vibration. In this work, we have studied the nonlinear vibration of a graphene resonator driven by a geometric nonlinear effect due to an edge-clamped boundary condition using a continuum elastic model such as a plate model. We have shown that an in-plane tension can play a role in modulating the nonlinearity of a resonance for a graphene. It has been found that the detection sensitivity of a graphene resonator can be improved by using nonlinear vibration induced by an actuation force-driven geometric nonlinear effect. It is also shown that an in-plane tension can control the detection sensitivity of a graphene resonator that operates both harmonic and nonlinear oscillation regimes. Our study suggests the design principles of a graphene resonator as a mass sensor for developing a novel detection scheme using graphene-based nonlinear oscillators.

Concepts: Laser, Resonator, Oscillation, Wave, Resonance, Acoustic resonance, Nonlinear system, Mechanical resonance


A detailed study of high-field transient and direct-current (DC) transport in GaN-based Gunn diode oscillators is carried out using the commercial simulator Sentaurus Device. Applicability of drift-diffusion (DD) and hydrodynamic (HD) models to high-speed, high-frequency devices is discussed in depth, and the results of the simulations from these models are compared. It is shown, for a highly homogeneous device based on a short (2 mum) supercritically doped (1017 cm-3) GaN specimen, that the DD model is unable to correctly take into account some essential physical effects which determine the operation mode of the device. At the same time, the HD model is ideally suited to solve such problems due to its ability to incorporate non-local effects. We show that the velocity overshoot near the device contacts and space charge injection and extraction play a crucial role in defining the operation mode of highly homogeneous short diodes in both the transient regime and the voltage-controlled oscillation regime. The transient conduction current responses are fundamentally different in the DD and HD models. The DD current simply repeats the velocity-field (v-F) characteristics, and the sample remains in a completely homogeneous state. In the HD model, the transient current pulse with a full width at half maximum of approximately 0.2 ps is increased about twofold due to the carrier injection (extraction) into (from) the active region and the velocity overshoot. The electron gas is characterized by highly inhomogeneous distributions of the carrier density, the electric field and the electron temperature. The simulation of the DC steady states of the diodes also shows very different results for the two models. The HD model shows the trapped stable anodic domain in the device, while the DD model completely retains all features of the v-F characteristics in a homogeneous gas. Simulation of the voltage-controlled oscillator shows that it operates in the accumulation layer mode generating microwave signals at 0.3 to 0.7 THz. In spite of the fact that the known criterion of a Gunn domain mode n0L > (n0L)0 was satisfied, no Gunn domains were observed. The explanation of this phenomenon is given.

Concepts: Electron, Laser, Oscillation, Diode, Microwave, Electronic oscillator, Gunn diode, Tunnel diode


Dissipative solitons are self-localised structures resulting from the double balance of dispersion by nonlinearity and dissipation by a driving force arising in numerous systems. In Kerr-nonlinear optical resonators, temporal solitons permit the formation of light pulses in the cavity and the generation of coherent optical frequency combs. Apart from shape-invariant stationary solitons, these systems can support breathing dissipative solitons exhibiting a periodic oscillatory behaviour. Here, we generate and study single and multiple breathing solitons in coherently driven microresonators. We present a deterministic route to induce soliton breathing, allowing a detailed exploration of the breathing dynamics in two microresonator platforms. We measure the relation between the breathing frequency and two control parameters-pump laser power and effective-detuning-and observe transitions to higher periodicity, irregular oscillations and switching, in agreement with numerical predictions. Using a fast detection, we directly observe the spatiotemporal dynamics of individual solitons, which provides evidence of breather synchronisation.Dissipative Kerr solitons enable optical frequency comb generation in microresonators, but these solitons can undergo a breathing transition which impacts the stability of such microcombs. Here, Lucas et al. deterministically induce soliton breathing and directly observe the spatiotemporal dynamics.

Concepts: Laser, Oscillation, Dispersion, Vector soliton, Nonlinear optics, Frequency comb, Soliton, Solitons


Circadian rhythms enable organisms to synchronise the processes underpinning survival and reproduction to anticipate daily changes in the external environment. Recent work shows that daily (circadian) rhythms also enable parasites to maximise fitness in the context of ecological interactions with their hosts. Because parasite rhythms matter for their fitness, understanding how they are regulated could lead to innovative ways to reduce the severity and spread of diseases. Here, we examine how host circadian rhythms influence rhythms in the asexual replication of malaria parasites. Asexual replication is responsible for the severity of malaria and fuels transmission of the disease, yet, how parasite rhythms are driven remains a mystery. We perturbed feeding rhythms of hosts by 12 hours (i.e. diurnal feeding in nocturnal mice) to desynchronise the host’s peripheral oscillators from the central, light-entrained oscillator in the brain and their rhythmic outputs. We demonstrate that the rhythms of rodent malaria parasites in day-fed hosts become inverted relative to the rhythms of parasites in night-fed hosts. Our results reveal that the host’s peripheral rhythms (associated with the timing of feeding and metabolism), but not rhythms driven by the central, light-entrained circadian oscillator in the brain, determine the timing (phase) of parasite rhythms. Further investigation reveals that parasite rhythms correlate closely with blood glucose rhythms. In addition, we show that parasite rhythms resynchronise to the altered host feeding rhythms when food availability is shifted, which is not mediated through rhythms in the host immune system. Our observations suggest that parasites actively control their developmental rhythms. Finally, counter to expectation, the severity of disease symptoms expressed by hosts was not affected by desynchronisation of their central and peripheral rhythms. Our study at the intersection of disease ecology and chronobiology opens up a new arena for studying host-parasite-vector coevolution and has broad implications for applied bioscience.

Concepts: Immune system, Malaria, Oscillation, Circadian rhythm, Chronobiology, Circadian rhythms, Diurnality, Plasmodium berghei


Recent studies establish that cortical oscillations track naturalistic speech in a remarkably faithful way. Here, we test whether such neural activity, particularly low-frequency (<8 Hz; delta-theta) oscillations, similarly entrain to music and whether experience modifies such a cortical phenomenon. Music of varying tempi was used to test entrainment at different rates. In three magnetoencephalography experiments, we recorded from nonmusicians, as well as musicians with varying years of experience. Recordings from nonmusicians demonstrate cortical entrainment that tracks musical stimuli over a typical range of tempi, but not at tempi below 1 note per second. Importantly, the observed entrainment correlates with performance on a concurrent pitch-related behavioral task. In contrast, the data from musicians show that entrainment is enhanced by years of musical training, at all presented tempi. This suggests a bidirectional relationship between behavior and cortical entrainment, a phenomenon that has not previously been reported. Additional analyses focus on responses in the beta range (∼15-30 Hz)-often linked to delta activity in the context of temporal predictions. Our findings provide evidence that the role of beta in temporal predictions scales to the complex hierarchical rhythms in natural music and enhances processing of musical content. This study builds on important findings on brainstem plasticity and represents a compelling demonstration that cortical neural entrainment is tightly coupled to both musical training and task performance, further supporting a role for cortical oscillatory activity in music perception and cognition.

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Oscillation, Demonstration, Entrainment, Behaviorism, Music, Musical notation


Tapping or clapping to an auditory beat, an easy task for most individuals, reveals precise temporal synchronization with auditory patterns such as music, even in the presence of temporal fluctuations. Most models of beat-tracking rely on the theoretical concept of pulse: a perceived regular beat generated by an internal oscillation that forms the foundation of entrainment abilities. Although tapping to the beat is a natural sensorimotor activity for most individuals, not everyone can track an auditory beat. Recently, the case of Mathieu was documented (Phillips-Silver et al. 2011 Neuropsychologia 49, 961-969. (doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.02.002)). Mathieu presented himself as having difficulty following a beat and exhibited synchronization failures. We examined beat-tracking in normal control participants, Mathieu, and a second beat-deaf individual, who tapped with an auditory metronome in which unpredictable perturbations were introduced to disrupt entrainment. Both beat-deaf cases exhibited failures in error correction in response to the perturbation task while exhibiting normal spontaneous motor tempi (in the absence of an auditory stimulus), supporting a deficit specific to perception-action coupling. A damped harmonic oscillator model was applied to the temporal adaptation responses; the model’s parameters of relaxation time and endogenous frequency accounted for differences between the beat-deaf cases as well as the control group individuals.

Concepts: Quantum mechanics, Oscillation, Resonance, Normal mode, Harmonic oscillator, Simple harmonic motion, Pendulum, Ordinary differential equations