Excitation and oscillation are central to living systems. For excitable systems, which can be brought into oscillation by an external stimulus, the excitation threshold is a crucial parameter. This is evident for neurons, which only generate an action potential when exposed to a sufficiently high concentration of excitatory neurotransmitters, which may only be achieved when multiple presynaptic axons deliver their action potential simultaneously to the synaptic cleft. Dynamic systems composed of relatively simple chemicals are of interest because they can serve as a model for physiological processes or can be exploited to implement chemical computing. With these applications in mind, we have studied the properties of the oscillatory Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction in 3D-printed reaction vessels with open channels of different dimensions. It is demonstrated that the channel geometry can be used to modulate the excitability of the BZ medium, switching a continuously oscillating medium to an excitable medium. Because large networks of channel-connected reaction wells of different depth can easily be fabricated by 3D printing, local excitability modulation could be built into the structure of the reaction vessel itself, opening the way to more extensive experimentation with networks of chemical oscillators.

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