*Preprint*

**Inserted:** 28 jun 2013

**Last Updated:** 28 jun 2013

**Year:** 2013

**Abstract:**

We study the minimization problem for the Yang-Mills energy under fixed boundary connection in supercritical dimension $n\geq 5$. We define the natural function space $\mathcal A_{G}$ in which to formulate this problem in analogy to the space of integral currents used for the classical Plateau problem. The space $\mathcal A_{G}$ can be also interpreted as a space of weak connections on a "real measure theoretic version" of reflexive sheaves from complex geometry. We prove the weak closure result which ensures the existence of energy-minimizing weak connections in $\mathcal A_{G}$. We then prove that any weak connection from $\mathcal A_{G}$ can be obtained as a $L^2$-limit of classical connections over bundles with defects. This approximation result is then extended to a Morrey analogue. We prove the optimal regularity result for Yang-Mills local minimizers. On the way to prove this result we establish a Coulomb gauge extraction theorem for weak curvatures with small Yang-Mills density. This generalizes to the general framework of weak $L^2$ curvatures previous works of Meyer-Rivi\`ere and Tao-Tian in which respectively a strong approximability property and an admissibility property were assumed in addition.

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