Calculus of Variations and Geometric Measure Theory

Rectifiability, finite Hausdorff measure, and compactness for non-minimizing Bernoulli free boundaries

Georg Weiss

created by scharrer on 14 Sep 2023

20 sep 2023 -- 10:00   [open in google calendar]

Agenda: Get-together (30 min), presentation Georg Weiss (60 min), questions and discussions (30 min).


While there are numerous results on minimizers or stable solutions of the Bernoulli problem proving regularity of the free boundary and analyzing singularities, much less is known about critical points of the corresponding energy. Saddle points of the energy (or of closely related energies) and solutions of the corresponding time-dependent problem occur naturally in applied problems such as water waves and combustion theory.

For such critical points $u$−which can be obtained as limits of classical solutions or limits of a singular perturbation problem−it has been open since Weiss03 whether the singular set can be large and what equation the measure $\Delta u$ satisfies, except for the case of two dimensions. In the present result we use recent techniques such as a frequency formula for the Bernoulli problem as well as the celebrated Naber-Valtorta procedure to answer this more than 20 year old question in an affirmative way:

For a closed class we call variational solutions of the Bernoulli problem, we show that the topological free boundary $\partial \{u > 0\}$ (including degenerate singular points $x$, at which $u(x + r)/r \to 0$ as $r \to 0$) is countably $\mathcal H^{n-1}$-rectifiable and has locally finite $\mathcal H^{n−1}$-measure, and we identify the measure $\Delta u$ completely. This gives a more precise characterization of the free boundary of $u$ in arbitrary dimension than was previously available even in dimension two.

We also show that limits of (not necessarily minimizing) classical solutions as well as limits of critical points of a singularly perturbed energy are variational solutions, so that the result above applies directly to all of them. This is a joint work with Dennis Kriventsov (Rutgers).