IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, Vol.62, No.1, 445-450, 2017
Entrainment Control of Phase Dynamics
First order phase reduced model is a good approximation of the dynamics of forced nonlinear oscillators near its limit cycle. The phase evolution is determined by the unforced frequency, the forcing term, and the phase response curve (PRC). Such models arise in biological oscillations such as in circadian rhythm, neural signaling, heart beat, etc. This technical note focuses on the phase regulation of the circadian rhythm using light intensity as the input. Though the model is simple, the circle topology of the state space needs to be carefully addressed. The most common entrainment method is to use a periodic input, such as in our daily light-dark cycle. We obtain the complete stable entrainment condition based on the entraiment input and the PRC. Motivated by the jet-lag problem, we also consider the minimum time entrainment control to achieve a specified phase shift. Application of the Pontryagin Minimum Principle leads to an efficient solution strategy for the optimal control, without solving the two-point boundary value problem. The optimal control may be further represented as a feedback control law based on the current and desired phases. Our analysis allows the answer to questions such as: When traveling from New York to Paris, is it faster to use light to shift the phase forward by 6 hours or delay the phase by 18 hours? The answer is somewhat counter-intuitive-delaying by 18 hours requires less time. The general answer depends on the light intensity level and the shape of the PRC. PRCs for human and Drosophila from the literature are used to illustrate the results.