Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida 32306-4390, USA.
Scroll waves are three-dimensional excitation patterns that rotate around one-dimensional space curves. Typically these filaments are closed loops or end at the system boundary. However, in excitable media with anomalous dispersion, filaments can be pinned to the wake of traveling wave pulses. This pinning is studied in experiments with the 1,4-cyclohexanedione Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction and a three-variable reaction-diffusion model. We show that wave-pinned filaments are related to the coexistence of rotating and translating wave defects in two dimensions. Filament pinning causes a continuous expansion of the total filament length. It can be ended by annihilating the pinning pulse in a frontal wave collision. Following such an annihilation, the filament connects itself to the system boundary. Its postannihilation shape that is initially the exposed rim of the scroll wave unwinds continuously over numerous rotation periods.