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Nondegeneracy and integral count of frozen planet orbits in helium

Kai Cieliebak, Urs Frauenfelder and Evgeny Volkov

Vol. 5 (2023), No. 4, 713–770

We study a family of action functionals whose critical points interpolate between frozen planet orbits for the helium atom with mean interaction between the electrons and the free fall. The rather surprising first result of this paper asserts that for the whole family, critical points are always nondegenerate. This implies that the frozen planet orbit with mean interaction is nondegenerate and gives a new proof of its uniqueness. As an application, we show that the integral count of frozen planet orbits with instantaneous interaction equals one. For this, we prove orientability of the determinant line bundle over the space of self-adjoint Fredholm operators with spectrum bounded from below, and use it to define an integer valued Euler characteristic for Fredholm sections whose linearization belongs to this class.

frozen planet orbits
Mathematical Subject Classification
Primary: 47J30, 34C25
Secondary: 58B15
Received: 31 October 2022
Revised: 18 June 2023
Accepted: 4 July 2023
Published: 21 November 2023
Kai Cieliebak
Universität Augsburg
Urs Frauenfelder
Universität Augsburg
Evgeny Volkov
Universität Augsburg