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One of the classical ways to describe the dynamics of nonlinear systems is to analyze theur Fourier spectra. For periodic and quasiperiodic processes the Fourier spectrum consists purely of discrete delta-functions. On the contrary, the spectrum of a chaotic motion is marked by the presence of the continuous component. In this work, we describe the peculiar, neither regular nor completely chaotic state with so called singular-continuous power spectrum. Our investigations concern various cases from most different fields, where one meets the singular continuous (fractal) spectra. The examples include both the physical processes which can be reduced to iterated discrete mappings or even symbolic sequences, and the processes whose description is based on the ordinary or partial differential equations.

In a network with a mixture of different electrophysiological types of neurons linked by excitatory and inhibitory connections, temporal evolution leads through repeated epochs of intensive global activity separated by intervals with low activity level. This behavior mimics "up" and "down" states, experimentally observed in cortical tissues in absence of external stimuli. We interpret global dynamical features in terms of individual dynamics of the neurons. In particular, we observe that the crucial role both in interruption and in resumption of global activity is played by distributions of the membrane recovery variable within the network. We also demonstrate that the behavior of neurons is more influenced by their presynaptic environment in the network than by their formal types, assigned in accordance with their response to constant current.

We consider synchronization properties of arrays of spin-torque nano-oscillators coupled via an RC load. We show that while the fully synchronized state of identical oscillators may be locally stable in some parameter range, this synchrony is not globally attracting. Instead, regimes of different levels of compositional complexity are observed. These include chimera states (a part of the array forms a cluster while other units are desynchronized), clustered chimeras (several clusters plus desynchronized oscillators), cluster state (all oscillators form several clusters), and partial synchronization (no clusters but a nonvanishing mean field). Dynamically, these states are also complex, demonstrating irregular and close to quasiperiodic modulation. Remarkably, when heterogeneity of spin-torque oscillators is taken into account, dynamical complexity even increases: close to the onset of a macroscopic mean field, the dynamics of this field is rather irregular.

We demonstrate the occurrence of regimes with singular continuous (fractal) Fourier spectra in autonomous dissipative dynamical systems. The particular example in an ODE system at the accumulation points of bifurcation sequences associated to the creation of complicated homoclinic orbits. Two different machanisms responsible for the appearance of such spectra are proposed. In the first case when the geometry of the attractor is symbolically represented by the Thue-Morse sequence, both the continuous-time process and its descrete Poincaré map have singular power spectra. The other mechanism owes to the logarithmic divergence of the first return times near the saddle point; here the Poincaré map possesses the discrete spectrum, while the continuous-time process displays the singular one. A method is presented for computing the multifractal characteristics of the singular continuous spectra with the help of the usual Fourier analysis technique.