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Singular perturbation of manifold-valued maps with anisotropic energy

Andres Contreras and Xavier Lamy

Vol. 15 (2022), No. 6, 1531–1560

We establish small energy Hölder bounds, uniform with respect to 𝜀 (0,1), for minimizers u𝜀 of

E𝜀(u) :=ΩW(u) + 1 𝜀2Ωf(u),

where W is a positive definite quadratic form and the potential f constrains u to be close to a given manifold 𝒩. This implies that, up to subsequence, u𝜀 converges locally uniformly to an 𝒩-valued W-harmonic map, away from its singular set. This is the first result of its kind for general anisotropic energies covering in particular the previously open case of three-dimensional Landau–de Gennes model for liquid crystals, with three distinct elastic constants. Similar results in the isotropic case W(u) = |u|2 rely on three ingredients: a monotonicity formula for the scale-invariant energy on small balls, a uniform pointwise bound, and a Bochner equation for the energy density; all of these ingredients are absent for general anisotropic W’s. In particular, the lack of monotonicity formula is an important reason why optimal estimates on the singular set of W-harmonic maps constitute an open problem. To circumvent these difficulties we devise an argument that relies on showing appropriate decay for the energy on small balls, separately at scales smaller and larger than 𝜀: the former is obtained from the regularity of solutions to elliptic systems, while the latter is inherited from the regularity of W-harmonic maps. This also allows us to handle physically relevant boundary conditions for which, even in the isotropic case, uniform convergence up to the boundary was open.

singular perturbation, liquid crystals
Mathematical Subject Classification 2010
Primary: 35J47, 35J50
Received: 21 October 2019
Revised: 25 September 2020
Accepted: 11 March 2021
Published: 10 November 2022
Andres Contreras
Department of Mathematical Sciences
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM
United States
Xavier Lamy
Institut de Mathématiques de Toulouse
UMR 5219, Université de Toulouse, CNRS, UPS IMT, F-31062