Calculus of Variations and Geometric Measure Theory
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D. Prandi - L. Rizzi - M. Seri

A sub-Riemannian Santaló formula with applications to isoperimetric inequalities and first Dirichlet eigenvalue of hypoelliptic operators

created by rizzi1 on 28 Sep 2015
modified on 29 Apr 2020


Published Paper

Inserted: 28 sep 2015
Last Updated: 29 apr 2020

Journal: Journal of Differential Geometry
Volume: 111
Number: 2
Pages: 339-379
Year: 2015
Doi: 10.4310/jdg/1549422105

ArXiv: 1509.05415 PDF


In this paper we prove a sub-Riemannian version of the classical Santal\'o formula: a result in integral geometry that describes the intrinsic Liouville measure on the unit cotangent bundle in terms of the geodesic flow. Our construction works under quite general assumptions, satisfied by any sub-Riemannian structure associated with a Riemannian foliation with totally geodesic leaves (e.g. CR and QC manifolds with symmetries), any Carnot group, and some non-equiregular structures such as the Martinet one. A key ingredient is a "reduction procedure" that allows to consider only a simple subset of sub-Riemannian geodesics. As an application, we derive isoperimetric-type and (p-)Hardy-type inequalities for a compact domain $M$ with piecewise $C^{1,1}$ boundary, and a universal lower bound for the first Dirichlet eigenvalue $\lambda_1(M)$ of the sub-Laplacian, \[ \lambda_1(M) \geq \frac{k \pi^2}{L^2}, \] in terms of the rank $k$ of the distribution and the length $L$ of the longest reduced sub-Riemannian geodesic contained in $M$. All our results are sharp for the sub-Riemannian structures on the hemispheres of the complex and quaternionic Hopf fibrations: \[ \mathbb{S}^1\hookrightarrow \mathbb{S}^{2d+1} \xrightarrow{p} \mathbb{CP}^d, \qquad \mathbb{S}^3\hookrightarrow \mathbb{S}^{4d+3} \xrightarrow{p} \mathbb{HP}^d, \qquad d \geq 1, \] where the sub-Laplacian is the standard hypoelliptic operator of CR and QC geometries, $L = \pi$ and $k=2d$ or $4d$, respectively.

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