Nonlinear integral coupling for synchronization in networks of nonlinear systems

Alexey Pavlov (Corresponding author), Erik Steur, Nathan van de Wouw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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This paper presents a novel approach to (controlled) synchronization of networked nonlinear systems. For classes of identical single-input–single-output nonlinear systems and networks, including oscillator networks, we propose a systematic design procedure (with generic as well as constructive conditions) for specifying nonlinear coupling functions that guarantee global asymptotic synchronization of the systems’ (oscillatory) states. The proposed coupling laws are in the form of a definite integral of a nonlinear “coupling gain” function. It can be fit to the system's nonlinearities and, thus, can avoid cancelling nonlinearities by feedback or high-gain arguments commonly needed for linear (diffusive) coupling laws. As demonstrated by two examples, including a network of FitzHugh–Nagumo oscillators, this design can result in much lower synchronizing coupling gains than for the common case of linear couplings, therewith increasing energy efficiency of the coupling laws and reducing output-noise sensitivity. The resulting coupling structure can be of a varying type, when couplings are activated/deactivated depending on the systems’ outputs without undermining overall synchronization. The approach is based on a novel notion of incremental feedback passivity with a nonlinear gain. In addition to the design contribution, these results provide a new insight into potential synchronization mechanisms in natural and artificial nonlinearly coupled systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110202
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Incremental feedback passivity
  • Nonlinear couplings
  • Nonlinear systems
  • Relaxed balanced coloring
  • Synchronization
  • Variable interconnection network


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