Irene Fonseca Carnegie Mellon University Variational Methods for Crystal Surface Instability Abstract Using the calculus of variations and nonlinear PDEs it is shown that important qualitative features of the equilibrium shape of material voids and quantum dots in a linearly elastic solid may be deduced from smoothness and convexity properties of the interfacial energy. In addition, short time existence, uniqueness, and regularity for an anisotropic surface diffusion evolution equation with curvature regularization are proved in the context of epitaxially strained two-dimensional films. This is achieved by using the $H^{-1}$-gradient flow structure of the evolution law, via De Giorgi's minimizing movements, and it seems to be the first short time existence result for a surface diffusion type geometric evolution equation in the presence of elasticity.
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