On an Isoperimetric Problem with a Competing Nonlocal Term I: The Planar Case

Hans Knüpfer, Cyrill B. Muratov

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This paper is concerned with a study of the classical isoperimetric problem modified by an addition of a nonlocal repulsive term. We characterize existence, nonexistence, and radial symmetry of the minimizers as a function of mass in the situation where the nonlocal term is generated by a kernel given by an inverse power of the distance. We prove that minimizers of this problem exist for sufficiently small masses and are given by disks with prescribed mass below a certain threshold when the interfacial term in the energy is dominant. At the same time, we prove that minimizers fail to exist for sufficiently large masses due to the tendency of the low-energy configuration to split into smaller pieces when the nonlocal term in the energy is dominant. In the latter regime, we also establish linear scaling of energy with mass, suggesting that for large masses low-energy configurations consist of many roughly equal-size pieces far apart. In the case of slowly decaying kernels, we give a complete characterization of the minimizers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1129-1162
Number of pages34
JournalCommunications on Pure and Applied Mathematics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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