*Accepted Paper*

**Inserted:** 25 jan 2016

**Last Updated:** 30 oct 2017

**Journal:** Ann. of Math.

**Year:** 2016

**Abstract:**

We establish a general structure theorem for the singular part of ${\mathscr A}$-free Radon measures, where ${\mathscr A}$ is a linear PDE operator. By applying the theorem to suitably chosen differential operators ${\mathscr A}$, we obtain a simple proof of Alberti's rank-one theorem and, for the first time, its extensions to functions of bounded deformation (BD). We also prove a structure theorem for the singular part of a finite family of normal currents. The latter result implies that the Rademacher theorem on the differentiability of Lipschitz functions can hold only for absolutely continuous measures and that every top-dimensional Ambrosio--Kirchheim metric current in $\mathbb R^d$ is a Federer-Fleming flat chain.

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