Hysteresis and Linear Stability Analysis on Multiple Steady-State Solutions to the Poisson–Nernst–Planck equations with Steric Interactions

09/17/2020
by   Jie Ding, et al.
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In this work, we numerically study linear stability of multiple steady-state solutions to a type of steric Poisson–Nernst–Planck (PNP) equations with Dirichlet boundary conditions, which are applicable to ion channels. With numerically found multiple steady-state solutions, we obtain S-shaped current-voltage and current-concentration curves, showing hysteretic response of ion conductance to voltages and boundary concentrations with memory effects. Boundary value problems are proposed to locate bifurcation points and predict the local bifurcation diagram near bifurcation points on the S-shaped curves. Numerical approaches for linear stability analysis are developed to understand the stability of the steady-state solutions that are only numerically available. Finite difference schemes are proposed to solve a derived eigenvalue problem involving differential operators. The linear stability analysis reveals that the S-shaped curves have two linearly stable branches of different conductance levels and one linearly unstable intermediate branch, exhibiting classical bistable hysteresis. As predicted in the linear stability analysis, transition dynamics, from a steady-state solution on the unstable branch to a one on the stable branches, are led by perturbations associated to the mode of the dominant eigenvalue. Further numerical tests demonstrate that the finite difference schemes proposed in the linear stability analysis are second-order accurate. Numerical approaches developed in this work can be applied to study linear stability of a class of time-dependent problems around their steady-state solutions that are computed numerically.

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