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On The Generation of Solitons and Breathers in the Modified Korteweg-de Vries Equation

Simon Clarke, Roger Grimshaw, and Peter Miller
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia

Efim Pelinovsky and Tatiana Talipova
Institute of Applied Physics and Nizhny Novgorod Technical University, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia


We consider the evolution of an initial disturbance described by the modified Korteweg-de Vries equation with a positive coefficient of the cubic nonlinear term, so that it can support solitons. Our primary aim is to determine the circumstances which can lead to the formation of solitons and/or breathers. We use the associated scattering problem and determine the discrete spectrum, where real eigenvalues describe solitons and complex eigenvalues describe breathers. For analytical convenience we consider various piecewise-constant initial conditions. We show how complex eigenvalues may be generated by bifurcation from either the real axis, or the imaginary axis; in the former case the bifurcation occurs as the unfolding of a double real eigenvalue. A bifurcation from the real axis describes the transition of a soliton pair with opposite polarities into a breather, while the bifurcation from the imaginary axis describes the generation of a breather from the continuous spectrum. Within the class of initial conditions we consider, a disturbance of one polarity, either positive or negative, will generate only solitons, and the number of solitons depends on the total mass. On the other hand, an initial disturbance with both polarities and very small mass will favor the generation of breathers, and the number of breathers then depends on the total energy. Direct numerical simulations of the modified Korteweg-de Vries equation confirms the analytical results, and show in detail the formation of solitons, breathers, and quasistationary coupled soliton pairs. Being based on spectral theory, our analytical results apply to the entire hierarchy of evolution equations connected with the same eigenvalue problem.