Product dynamics for homoclinic attractors

Peter Ashwin, Michael Field


Heteroclinic cycles may occur as structurally stable asymptotically stable attractors if there are invariant subspaces or symmetries of a dynamical system. Even for cycles between equilibria, it may be difficult to obtain results on the generic behaviour of trajectories converging to the cycle. For more–complicated cycles between chaotic sets, the non–trivial dynamics of the ‘nodes’ can interact with that of the ‘connections’. This paper focuses on some of the simplest problems for such dynamics where there are direct products of an attracting homoclinic cycle with various types of dynamics. Using a precise analytic description of a general planar homoclinic attractor, we are able to obtain a number of results for direct product systems.

We show that for flows that are a product of a homoclinic attractor and a periodic orbit or a mixing hyperbolic attractor, the product of the attractors is a minimal Milnor attractor for the product. On the other hand, we present evidence to show that for the product of two homoclinic attractors, typically only a small subset of the product of the attractors is an attractor for the product system.