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  • Sets of Finite Perimeter and GeometricVariational Problems

    An Introduction to Geometric Measure Theory

    FRANCESCO MAGGIUniversita degli Studi di Firenze, Italy

  • Contents

    Preface page xiiiNotation xvii


    1 Outer measures 41.1 Examples of outer measures 41.2 Measurable sets and -additivity 71.3 Measure Theory and integration 9

    2 Borel and Radon measures 142.1 Borel measures and Caratheodorys criterion 142.2 Borel regular measures 162.3 Approximation theorems for Borel measures 172.4 Radon measures. Restriction, support, and push-forward 19

    3 Hausdorff measures 243.1 Hausdorff measures and the notion of dimension 243.2 H1 and the classical notion of length 273.3 Hn = Ln and the isodiametric inequality 28

    4 Radon measures and continuous functions 314.1 Lusins theorem and density of continuous functions 314.2 Rieszs theorem and vector-valued Radon measures 334.3 Weak-star convergence 414.4 Weak-star compactness criteria 474.5 Regularization of Radon measures 49

    5 Differentiation of Radon measures 515.1 Besicovitchs covering theorem 52

  • viii Contents

    5.2 LebesgueBesicovitch differentiation theorem 585.3 Lebesgue points 62

    6 Two further applications of differentiation theory 646.1 Campanatos criterion 646.2 Lower dimensional densities of a Radon measure 66

    7 Lipschitz functions 687.1 Kirszbrauns theorem 697.2 Weak gradients 727.3 Rademachers theorem 74

    8 Area formula 768.1 Area formula for linear functions 778.2 The role of the singular set J f = 0 808.3 Linearization of Lipschitz immersions 828.4 Proof of the area formula 848.5 Area formula with multiplicities 85

    9 GaussGreen theorem 899.1 Area of a graph of codimension one 899.2 GaussGreen theorem on open sets with C1-boundary 909.3 GaussGreen theorem on open sets with almost

    C1-boundary 93

    10 Rectifiable sets and blow-ups of Radon measures 9610.1 Decomposing rectifiable sets by regular Lipschitz images 9710.2 Approximate tangent spaces to rectifiable sets 9910.3 Blow-ups of Radon measures and rectifiability 102

    11 Tangential differentiability and the area formula 10611.1 Area formula on surfaces 10611.2 Area formula on rectifiable sets 10811.3 GaussGreen theorem on surfaces 110

    Notes 114


    12 Sets of finite perimeter and the Direct Method 12212.1 Lower semicontinuity of perimeter 12512.2 Topological boundary and GaussGreen measure 12712.3 Regularization and basic set operations 12812.4 Compactness from perimeter bounds 132

  • Contents ix

    12.5 Existence of minimizers in geometric variationalproblems 136

    12.6 Perimeter bounds on volume 141

    13 The coarea formula and the approximation theorem 14513.1 The coarea formula 14513.2 Approximation by open sets with smooth boundary 15013.3 The MorseSard lemma 154

    14 The Euclidean isoperimetric problem 15714.1 Steiner inequality 15814.2 Proof of the Euclidean isoperimetric inequality 165

    15 Reduced boundary and De Giorgis structure theorem 16715.1 Tangential properties of the reduced boundary 17115.2 Structure of GaussGreen measures 178

    16 Federers theorem and comparison sets 18316.1 GaussGreen measures and set operations 18416.2 Density estimates for perimeter minimizers 189

    17 First and second variation of perimeter 19517.1 Sets of finite perimeter and diffeomorphisms 19617.2 Taylors expansion of the determinant close to the identity 19817.3 First variation of perimeter and mean curvature 20017.4 Stationary sets and monotonicity of density ratios 20417.5 Volume-constrained perimeter minimizers 20817.6 Second variation of perimeter 211

    18 Slicing boundaries of sets of finite perimeter 21518.1 The coarea formula revised 21518.2 The coarea formula onHn1-rectifiable sets 22318.3 Slicing perimeters by hyperplanes 225

    19 Equilibrium shapes of liquids and sessile drops 22919.1 Existence of minimizers and Youngs law 23019.2 The Schwartz inequality 23719.3 A constrained relative isoperimetric problem 24219.4 Liquid drops in the absence of gravity 24719.5 A symmetrization principle 25019.6 Sessile liquid drops 253

    20 Anisotropic surface energies 25820.1 Basic properties of anisotropic surface energies 25820.2 The Wulff problem 262

  • x Contents

    20.3 Reshetnyaks theorems 269Notes 272


    21 (, r0)-perimeter minimizers 27821.1 Examples of (, r0)-perimeter minimizers 27821.2 (, r0) and local perimeter minimality 28021.3 The C1,-reguarity theorem 28221.4 Density estimates for (, r0)-perimeter minimizers 28221.5 Compactness for sequences of (, r0)-perimeter

    minimizers 284

    22 Excess and the height bound 29022.1 Basic properties of the excess 29122.2 The height bound 294

    23 The Lipschitz approximation theorem 30323.1 The Lipschitz graph criterion 30323.2 The area functional and the minimal surfaces equation 30523.3 The Lipschitz approximation theorem 308

    24 The reverse Poincare inequality 32024.1 Construction of comparison sets, part one 32424.2 Construction of comparison sets, part two 32924.3 Weak reverse Poincare inequality 33224.4 Proof of the reverse Poincare inequality 334

    25 Harmonic approximation and excess improvement 33725.1 Two lemmas on harmonic functions 33825.2 The excess improvement by tilting estimate 340

    26 Iteration, partial regularity, and singular sets 34526.1 The C1,-regularity theorem in the case = 0 34526.2 The C1,-regularity theorem in the case > 0 35126.3 C1,-regularity of the reduced boundary, and the

    characterization of the singular set 35426.4 C1-convergence for sequences of (, r0)-perimeter

    minimizers 355

    27 Higher regularity theorems 35727.1 Elliptic equations for derivatives of Lipschitz minimizers 35727.2 Some higher regularity theorems 359

  • Contents xi

    28 Analysis of singularities 36228.1 Existence of densities at singular points 36428.2 Blow-ups at singularities and tangent minimal cones 36628.3 Simons theorem 37228.4 Federers dimension reduction argument 37528.5 Dimensional estimates for singular sets 37928.6 Examples of singular minimizing cones 38228.7 A Bernstein-type theorem 385

    Notes 386

    PART IV MINIMIZING CLUSTERS 39129 Existence of minimizing clusters 398

    29.1 Definitions and basic remarks 39829.2 Strategy of proof 40229.3 Nucleation lemma 40629.4 Truncation lemma 40829.5 Infinitesimal volume exchanges 41029.6 Volume-fixing variations 41429.7 Proof of the existence of minimizing clusters 424

    30 Regularity of minimizing clusters 43130.1 Infiltration lemma 43130.2 Density estimates 43530.3 Regularity of planar clusters 437

    Notes 444References 445Index 453

  • Preface

    Everyone talks about rock these days;the problem is they forget about the roll.

    Keith Richards

    The theory of sets of finite perimeter provides, in the broader framework ofGeometric Measure Theory (hereafter referred to as GMT), a particularly well-suited framework for studying the existence, symmetry, regularity, and struc-ture of singularities of minimizers in those geometric variational problems inwhich surface area is minimized under a volume constraint. Isoperimetric-typeproblems constitute one of the oldest and more attractive areas of the Calcu-lus of Variations, with a long and beautiful history, and a large number of stillopen problems and current research. The first aim of this book is to provide apedagogical introduction to this subject, ranging from the foundations of thetheory, to some of the most deep and beautiful results in the field, thus provid-ing a complete background for research activity. We shall cover topics like theEuclidean isoperimetric problem, the description of geometric properties ofequilibrium shapes for liquid drops and crystals, the regularity up to a singularset of codimension at least 8 for area minimizing boundaries, and, probably forthe first time in book form, the theory of minimizing clusters developed (in amore sophisticated framework) by Almgren in his AMS Memoir [Alm76].

    Ideas and techniques from GMT are of crucial importance also in the studyof other variational problems (both of parametric and non-parametric charac-ter), as well as of partial differential equations. The secondary aim of this bookis to provide a multi-leveled introduction to these tools and methods, by adopt-ing an expository style which consists of both heuristic explanations and fullydetailed technical arguments. In my opinion, among the various parts of GMT,

  • xiv Preface

    the theory of sets of finite perimeter is the best suited for this aim. Comparedto the theories of currents and varifolds, it uses a lighter notation and, virtually,no preliminary notions from Algebraic or Differential Geometry. At the sametime, concerning, for example, key topics like partial regularity properties ofminimizers and the analysis of their singularities, the deeper structure of manyfundamental arguments can be fully appreciated in this simplified framework.Of course this line of thought has not to be pushed too far. But it is my convic-tion that a careful reader of this book will be able to enter other parts of GMTwith relative ease, or to apply the characteristic tools of GMT in the study ofproblems arising in other areas of Mathematics.

    The book is divided into four parts, which in turn are opened by rather de-tailed synopses. Depending on their personal backgrounds, different readersmay like to use the book in different ways. As we shall explain in a moment, ashort crash-course is available for complete beginners.

    Part I contains the basic theory of Radon measures, Hausdorffmeasures, andrectifiable sets, and provides the background material for the rest of the book.I am not a big fan of preliminary