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Invariants, Lie-Bäcklund operators and Bäcklund transformations


Fokas, Athanassios S. (1979) Invariants, Lie-Bäcklund operators and Bäcklund transformations. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology.


This thesis is mainly concerned with the application of groups of transformations to differential equations and in particular with the connection between the group structure of a given equation and the existence of exact solutions and conservation laws. In this respect the Lie-Bäcklund groups of tangent transformations, particular cases of which are the Lie tangent and the Lie point groups, are extensively used.

In Chapter I we first review the classical results of Lie, Bäcklund and Bianchi as well as the more recent ones due mainly to Ovsjannikov. We then concentrate on the Lie-Bäcklund groups (or more precisely on the corresponding Lie-Bäcklund operators), as introduced by Ibragimov and Anderson, and prove some lemmas about them which are useful for the following chapters. Finally we introduce the concept of a conditionally admissible operator (as opposed to an admissible one) and show how this can be used to generate exact solutions.

In Chapter II we establish the group nature of all separable solutions and conserved quantities in classical mechanics by analyzing the group structure of the Hamilton-Jacobi equation. It is shown that consideration of only Lie point groups is insufficient. For this purpose a special type of Lie-Bäcklund groups, those equivalent to Lie tangent groups, is used. It is also shown how these generalized groups induce Lie point groups on Hamilton's equations. The generalization of the above results to any first order equation, where the dependent variable does not appear explicitly, is obvious. In the second part of this chapter we investigate admissible operators (or equivalently constants of motion) of the Hamilton-Jacobi equation with polynornial dependence on the momenta. The form of the most general constant of motion linear, quadratic and cubic in the momenta is explicitly found. Emphasis is given to the quadratic case, where the particular case of a fixed (say zero) energy state is also considered; it is shown that in the latter case additional symmetries may appear. Finally, some potentials of physical interest admitting higher symmetries are considered. These include potentials due to two centers and limiting cases thereof. The most general two-center potential admitting a quadratic constant of motion is obtained, as well as the corresponding invariant. Also some new cubic invariants are found.

In Chapter III we first establish the group nature of all separable solutions of any linear, homogeneous equation. We then concentrate on the Schrodinger equation and look for an algorithm which generates a quantum invariant from a classical one. The problem of an isomorphism between functions in classical observables and quantum observables is studied concretely and constructively. For functions at most quadratic in the momenta an isomorphism is possible which agrees with Weyl' s transform and which takes invariants into invariants. It is not possible to extend the isomorphism indefinitely. The requirement that an invariant goes into an invariant may necessitate variants of Weyl' s transform. This is illustrated for the case of cubic invariants. Finally, the case of a specific value of energy is considered; in this case Weyl's transform does not yield an isomorphism even for the quadratic case. However, for this case a correspondence mapping a classical invariant to a quantum orie is explicitly found.

Chapters IV and V are concerned with the general group structure of evolution equations. In Chapter IV we establish a one to one correspondence between admissible Lie-Bäcklund operators of evolution equations (derivable from a variational principle) and conservation laws of these equations. This correspondence takes the form of a simple algorithm.

In Chapter V we first establish the group nature of all Bäcklund transformations (BT) by proving that any solution generated by a BT is invariant under the action of some conditionally admissible operator. We then use an algorithm based on invariance criteria to rederive many known BT and to derive some new ones. Finally, we propose a generalization of BT which, among other advantages, clarifies the connection between the wave-train solution and a BT in the sense that, a BT may be thought of as a variation of parameters of some. special case of the wave-train solution (usually the solitary wave one). Some open problems are indicated.

Most of the material of Chapters II and III is contained in [I], [II], [III] and [IV] and the first part of Chapter V in [V].

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Applied Mathematics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Mathematics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Lagerstrom, Paco A.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:10 May 1979
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:03212013-111445922
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7543
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:21 Mar 2013 18:41
Last Modified:09 Nov 2015 16:31

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