Calculus of Variations and Geometric Measure Theory

J. Fischer - A. Marveggio

Quantitative convergence of the vectorial Allen-Cahn equation towards multiphase mean curvature flow

created by marveggio on 15 Jun 2022
modified on 25 Jan 2024


Accepted Paper

Inserted: 15 jun 2022
Last Updated: 25 jan 2024

Journal: Ann. Inst. H. Poincaré Anal. Non Linéaire
Year: 2023

ArXiv: 2203.17143 PDF


Phase-field models such as the Allen-Cahn equation may give rise to the formation and evolution of geometric shapes, a phenomenon that may be analyzed rigorously in suitable scaling regimes. In its sharp-interface limit, the vectorial Allen-Cahn equation with a potential with $N\geq 3$ distinct minima has been conjectured to describe the evolution of branched interfaces by multiphase mean curvature flow. In the present work, we give a rigorous proof for this statement in two and three ambient dimensions and for a suitable class of potentials: As long as a strong solution to multiphase mean curvature flow exists, solutions to the vectorial Allen-Cahn equation with well-prepared initial data converge towards multiphase mean curvature flow in the limit of vanishing interface width parameter $\varepsilon\searrow 0$. We even establish the rate of convergence $O(\varepsilon^{1/2})$. Our approach is based on the gradient flow structure of the Allen-Cahn equation and its limiting motion: Building on the recent concept of "gradient flow calibrations" for multiphase mean curvature flow, we introduce a notion of relative entropy for the vectorial Allen-Cahn equation with multi-well potential. This enables us to overcome the limitations of other approaches, e.g. avoiding the need for a stability analysis of the Allen-Cahn operator or additional convergence hypotheses for the energy at positive times.