Frontiers of Physics

, 12:120508 | Cite as

Synchronization of coupled metronomes on two layers

  • Jing Zhang
  • Yi-Zhen YuEmail author
  • Xin-Gang WangEmail author
Research article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Soft-Matter Physics and Complex Systems


Coupled metronomes serve as a paradigmatic model for exploring the collective behaviors of complex dynamical systems, as well as a classical setup for classroom demonstrations of synchronization phenomena. Whereas previous studies of metronome synchronization have been concentrating on symmetric coupling schemes, here we consider the asymmetric case by adopting the scheme of layered metronomes. Specifically, we place two metronomes on each layer, and couple two layers by placing one on top of the other. By varying the initial conditions of the metronomes and adjusting the friction between the two layers, a variety of synchronous patterns are observed in experiment, including the splay synchronization (SS) state, the generalized splay synchronization (GSS) state, the anti-phase synchronization (APS) state, the in-phase delay synchronization (IPDS) state, and the in-phase synchronization (IPS) state. In particular, the IPDS state, in which the metronomes on each layer are synchronized in phase but are of a constant phase delay to metronomes on the other layer, is observed for the first time. In addition, a new technique based on audio signals is proposed for pattern detection, which is more convenient and easier to apply than the existing acquisition techniques. Furthermore, a theoretical model is developed to explain the experimental observations, and is employed to explore the dynamical properties of the patterns, including the basin distributions and the pattern transitions. Our study sheds new lights on the collective behaviors of coupled metronomes, and the developed setup can be used in the classroom for demonstration purposes.


coupled oscillators experimental study synchronization pattern 

PACS numbers

05.45.Xt 05.45.-a 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant No. 11375109, and also by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities under Grant No. GK201601001.


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Physics and Information TechnologyShaanxi Normal UniversityXi’anChina

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