Calculus of Variations and Geometric Measure Theory

D. Bourne - M. Peletier - F. Theil

Optimality of the triangular lattice for a particle system with Wasserstein interaction

created by bourne on 01 Jan 2013
modified on 09 Sep 2014


Published Paper

Inserted: 1 jan 2013
Last Updated: 9 sep 2014

Journal: Communications in Mathematical Physics
Volume: 329
Number: 1
Pages: 117-140
Year: 2014
Doi: 10.1007/s00220-014-1965-5


We prove strong crystallization results in two dimensions for an energy that arises in the theory of block copolymers. The energy is defined on sets of points and their weights, or equivalently on the set of atomic measures. It consists of two terms; the first term is the sum of the square root of the weights, and the second is the quadratic optimal transport cost between the atomic measure and the Lebesgue measure.

We prove that this system admits crystallization in several different ways: (1) the energy is bounded from below by the energy of a triangular lattice (called $\mathcal T$); (2) if the energy equals that of $\mathcal T$, then the measure is a rotated and translated copy of $\mathcal T$; (3) if the energy is close to that of $\mathcal T$, then locally the measure is close to a rotated and translated copy of $\mathcal T$. These three results require the domain to be a polygon with at most six sides. A fourth result states that the energy of $\mathcal T$ can be achieved in the limit of large domains, for domains with arbitrary boundaries.

The proofs make use of three ingredients. First, the optimal transport cost associates to each point a polygonal cell; the energy can be bounded from below by a sum over all cells of a function that depends only on the cell. Second, this function has a convex lower bound that is sharp at $\mathcal T$. Third, Euler's polytope formula limits the average number of sides of the polygonal cells to six, where six is the number corresponding to the triangular lattice.