Skip to main content

Marco Lenci: Internal-wave billiards in trapezoids and similar tables

Time: Thu 2022-04-14 13.00

Video link: Zoom

Lecturer: Marco Lenci (Università di Bologna)

Abstract: We call internal-wave billiard the dynamical system of a point particle that moves freely inside a planar domain (the table) and is reflected by its boundary according to this rule: reflections are standard Fresnel reflections but with the pretense that the boundary at any collision point is either horizontal or vertical (relative to a predetermined direction representing gravity). These systems are point particle approximations for the motion of internal gravity waves in closed containers, hence the name. The phenomenon of internal waves in a fluid occurs in many situations and has been intensively studied by physicists. One of the first experiments, which became paradigmatic, was done in a container shaped like a rectangular trapezoid (with some thickness).
For a class of tables including rectangular trapezoids, we prove that the dynamics has only three asymptotic regimes: (1) there exist a global attractor and a global repellor, which are periodic and might coincide; (2) there exists a beam of periodic trajectories, whose boundary (if any) comprises an attractor and a repellor for all the other trajectories; (3) all trajectories are dense (that is, the system is minimal). Furthermore, in the prominent case where the table is an actual trapezoid, we study the sets in parameter space relative to the three regimes. We prove in particular that the set for (1) has positive measure (giving a rigorous proof of the existence of Arnol'd tongues for internal-wave billiards), whereas the sets for (2) and (3) are non-empty but have measure zero. Joint work with C. Bonanno and G. Cristadoro.