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The symplectic Evans matrix and the instability of solitary waves and fronts

Bridges, TJ and Derks, G (2001) The symplectic Evans matrix and the instability of solitary waves and fronts Archives for Rational Mechanics and Analysis, 156. pp. 1-87.

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Hamiltonian evolution equations which are equivariant with respect to the action of a Lie group are models for physical phenomena such as oceanographic flows, optical fibres and atmospheric flows, and such systems often have a wide variety of solitary wave or front solutions. In this paper, we present a new symplectic framework for analyzing the spectral problem associated with the linearization about such solitary waves and fronts. At the heart of the analysis is a multi-symplectic formulation of Hamiltonian partial differential equations where a distinct symplectic structure is assigned for the time and space directions, with a third symplectic structure -- with two-form denoted by Omega - associated with a coordinate frame moving at the speed of the wave. This leads to a geometric decomposition and symplectification of the Evans function formulation for the linearization about solitary waves and fronts. We introduce the concept of the "symplectic Evans matrix", a matrix consisting of restricted "Omega-symplectic" forms. By applying Hodge duality to the exterior algebra formulation of the Evans function, we find that the zeros of the Evans function correspond to zeros of the determinant of the symplectic Evans matrix. Based on this formulation, we prove several new properties of the Evans function. Restricting the spectral parameter lambda to the real axis, we obtain rigorous results on the derivatives of the Evans function near the origin, based solely on the abstract geometry of the equations, and results for the large $|\lambda|$ behaviour which use primarily the symplectic structure, but also extend to the non-symplectic case. The Lie group symmetry affects the Evans function by generating zero eigenvalues of large multiplicity in the so-called systems at infinity. We present a new geometric theory which describes precisely how these zero eigenvalues behave under perturbation. By combining all these results, a new rigorous sufficient condition for instability of solitary waves and fronts is obtained. The theory applies to a large class of solitary waves and fronts including waves which are biasymptotic to a nonconstant manifold of states as $|x|$ tends to infinity. To illustrate the theory, it is applied to three examples: a Boussinesq model from oceanography, a class of nonlinear Schrodinger equations from optics and a nonlinear Klein-Gordon equation from atmospheric dynamics.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Mathematics
Authors : Bridges, TJ and Derks, G
Date : 22 January 2001
DOI : 10.1007/s002050100123
Uncontrolled Keywords : solitary waves, multi-symplectic, instability, Hodge dualtiy, Hodge duality
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 28 Mar 2017 10:53
Last Modified : 10 Jun 2019 13:57

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