From transfinite diameter to order-density to best-packing: the asymptotics of ground state configurations

Analysis Seminar
Friday, October 23, 2009 - 14:00
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 269
Vanderbilt University
I will review recent and classical results concerning the asymptotic properties (as N --> \infty) of 'ground state' configurations of N particles restricted to a d-dimensional compact set A\subset {\bf R}^p that minimize the Riesz s-energy functional \sum_{i\neq j}\frac{1}{|x_{i}-x_{j}|^{s}} for s>0. Specifically, we will discuss the following (1) For s < d, the ground state configurations have limit distribution as N --> \infty given by the equilibrium measure \mu_s, while the first order asymptotic growth of the energy of these configurations is given by the 'transfinite diameter' of A. (2) We study the behavior of \mu_s as s approaches the critical value d (for s\ge d, there is no equilibrium measure). In the case that A is a fractal, the notion of 'order two density' introduced by Bedford and Fisher naturally arises. This is joint work with M. Calef. (3) As s --> \infty, ground state configurations approach best-packing configurations on A. In work with S. Borodachov and E. Saff we show that such configurations are asymptotically uniformly distributed on A.