Volume 27, 2021
|Number of page(s)||30|
|Published online||30 April 2021|
Computation of free boundary minimal surfaces via extremal Steklov eigenvalue problems
LJK, Université Grenoble Alpes, France.
2 Department of Mathematical Sciences, Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, CA 91711, USA.
3 Department of Mathematics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 22 March 2021
Recently Fraser and Schoen showed that the solution of a certain extremal Steklov eigenvalue problem on a compact surface with boundary can be used to generate a free boundary minimal surface, i.e., a surface contained in the ball that has (i) zero mean curvature and (ii) meets the boundary of the ball orthogonally (doi:10.1007/s00222-015-0604-x). In this paper, we develop numerical methods that use this connection to realize free boundary minimal surfaces. Namely, on a compact surface, Σ, with genus γ and b boundary components, we maximize σj(Σ, g) L(∂Σ, g) over a class of smooth metrics, g, where σj(Σ, g) is the jth nonzero Steklov eigenvalue and L(∂Σ, g) is the length of ∂Σ. Our numerical method involves (i) using conformal uniformization of multiply connected domains to avoid explicit parameterization for the class of metrics, (ii) accurately solving a boundary-weighted Steklov eigenvalue problem in multi-connected domains, and (iii) developing gradient-based optimization methods for this non-smooth eigenvalue optimization problem. For genus γ = 0 and b = 2, …, 9, 12, 15, 20 boundary components, we numerically solve the extremal Steklov problem for the first eigenvalue. The corresponding eigenfunctions generate a free boundary minimal surface, which we display in striking images. For higher eigenvalues, numerical evidence suggests that the maximizers are degenerate, but we compute local maximizers for the second and third eigenvalues with b = 2 boundary components and for the third and fifth eigenvalues with b = 3 boundary components.
Mathematics Subject Classification: 35P05 / 35P15 / 49Q05 / 65N25
Key words: Steklov eigenvalue / eigenvalue optimization / free boundary minimal surface
© The authors. Published by EDP Sciences, SMAI 2021
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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