Calculus of Variations and Geometric Measure Theory

A. Carlotto - A. Mondino

Existence of generalized totally umbilic 2-spheres in perturbed 3-spheres

created by mondino on 19 Apr 2013
modified on 14 Aug 2013


Accepted Paper

Inserted: 19 apr 2013
Last Updated: 14 aug 2013

Journal: Int. Math. Res. Not.
Year: 2013


It was recently shown by R. Souam and E. Toubiana that the (non constantly curved) Berger spheres do not contain totally umbilic surfaces. Nevertheless in this article we show, by perturbative arguments, that all analytic metrics sufficiently close to the round metric $g_{0}$ on $\mathbb{S}^{3}$ possess \textsl{generalized} totally umbilic 2-spheres, namely critical points of the conformal Willmore functional $\int_{\Sigma}
^{2}\,d\mu_{\gamma}$. The same is true in the smooth setting provided a suitable non-degeneracy condition on the traceless Ricci tensor holds. The proof involves a gluing process of two different finite-dimensional reduction schemes, a sharp asymptotic analysis of the functional on perturbed umbilic spheres of small radius and a quantitative Schur-type Lemma in order to treat the cases when the traceless Ricci tensor of the perturbation is degenerate but not identically zero. For left-invariant metrics on $SU(2)\cong \mathbb{S}^{3}$ our result implies the existence of uncountably many distinct Willmore spheres.