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Title: Minimizers for the Cahn--Hilliard energy functional under strong anchoring conditions
We study analytically and numerically the minimizers for the Cahn-Hilliard energy functional with a symmetric quartic double-well potential and under a strong anchoring condition(i.e., the Dirichlet condition) on the boundary of an underlying bounded domain. We show a bifurcation phenomenon determined by the boundary value and a parameter that describes the thickness of a transition layer separating two phases of an underlying system of binary mixtures. For the case that the boundary value is exactly the average of the two pure phases, if the bifurcation parameter is larger than or equal to a critical value, then the minimizer is unique and is exactly the homogeneous state. Otherwise, there are exactly two symmetric minimizers. The critical bifurcation value is inversely proportional to the first eigenvalue of the negative Laplace operator with the zero Dirichlet boundary condition. For a boundary value that is larger (or smaller) than that of the average of the two pure phases, the symmetry is broken and there is only one minimizer. We also obtain the bounds and morphological properties of the minimizers under additional assumptions on the domain.Our analysis utilizes the notion of the Nehari manifold and connects it to the eigenvalue problem for the negative Laplacian more » with the homogeneous boundary condition. We numerically minimize the functional E by solving the gradient-flow equation of E, i.e., the Allen-Cahn equation, with the designated boundary conditions, and with random initial values. We present our numerical simulations and discuss them in the context of our analytical results. « less
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SIAM journal on applied mathematics
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National Science Foundation
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