Calculus of Variations and Geometric Measure Theory

A. Mondino

A new notion of angle between three points in a metric space

created by mondino on 02 Feb 2013
modified on 10 Oct 2014


Accepted Paper

Inserted: 2 feb 2013
Last Updated: 10 oct 2014

Journal: Crelle's Journal
Year: 2013


We give a new notion of angle in general metric spaces; more precisely, given a triple a points $p,x,q$ in a metric space $(X,d)$, we introduce the notion of angle cone ${\angle_{pxq}}$ as being an interval ${\angle_{pxq}}:=[\angle^-_{pxq},\angle^+_{pxq}]$, where the quantities $\angle^\pm_{pxq}$ are defined in terms of the distance functions from $p$ and $q$ via a duality construction of differentials and gradients holding for locally Lipschitz functions on a general metric space. Our definition in the Euclidean plane gives the standard angle between three points and in a Riemannian manifold coincides with the usual angle between the geodesics, if $x$ is not in the cut locus of $p$ or $q$. We show that in general the angle cone is not single valued (even in case the metric space is a smooth Riemannian manifold, if $x$ is in the cut locus of $p$ or $q$), but if we endow the metric space with a positive Borel measure $m$ obtaining the metric measure space $(X,d,m)$ then under quite general assumptions (which include many fundamental examples as Riemannian manifolds, finite dimensional Alexandrov spaces with curvature bounded from below, Gromov-Hausdorff limits of Riemannian manifolds with Ricci curvature bounded from below, and normed spaces with strictly convex norm), fixed $p,q \in X$, the angle cone at $x$ is single valued for $m$-a.e. $x \in X$. We prove some basic properties of the angle cone (such as the invariance under homotheties of the space) and we analyze in detail the case $(X,d,m)$ is a measured-Gromov-Hausdorff limit of a sequence of Riemannian manifolds with Ricci curvature bounded from below, showing the consistency of our definition with a recent construction of Honda.

Tags: GeMeThNES