Edge states as mediators of bypass transition in boundary-layer flows
The concept of edge states is investigated in the asymptotic suction boundary layer in relation to the receptivity process to noisy perturbations and the nucleation of turbulent spots. Edge tracking is first performed numerically, without imposing any discrete symmetry, in a large computational domain allowing for full spatial localisation of the perturbation velocity. The edge state is a three-dimensional localised structure recurrently characterised by a single low-speed streak that experiences erratic bursts and planar shifts. This recurrent streaky structure is then compared with predecessors of individual spot nucleation events, triggered by non-localised initial noise. The present results suggest a nonlinear picture, rooted in dynamical systems theory, of the nucleation process of turbulent spots in boundary-layer flows, in which the localised edge state plays the role of state-space mediator.