# Asian Journal of Mathematics

## Volume 24 (2020)

### Oscillatory functions vanish on a large set

Pages: 177 – 190

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.4310/AJM.2020.v24.n1.a8

#### Author

Stefan Steinerberger (Department of Mathematics, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A.)

#### Abstract

Let $(M, g)$ be an $n$-dimensional, compact Riemannian manifold. We will show that functions that are orthogonal to the first few Laplacian eigenfunctions have to have a large zero set. Let us assume $f \in C^0 (M)$ is orthogonal $\langle f, \phi_k \rangle = 0$ to all eigenfunctions $\phi_k$ with eigenvalue $\lambda_k \leq \lambda$. If $\lambda$ is large, then the function $f$ has to vanish on a large set$\mathcal{H}^{n-1} {\lbrace x : f(x) = 0 \rbrace} \gtrsim\frac{\sqrt{\lambda}}{(\operatorname{log} \lambda)^{n/2}}{\left (\frac{{\lVert f \rVert}_{L^1}}{{\lVert f \rVert}_{L^\infty}}\right )}^{2-\frac{1}{n}} \quad \textrm{.}$Trigonometric functions on the flat torus $\mathbb{T}^d$ show that the result is sharp up to a logarithm if ${\lVert f \rVert}_{L^1} \sim {\lVert f \rVert}_{L^\infty}$. We also obtain a stronger result conditioned on the geometric regularity of $\lbrace x : f(x) = 0 \rbrace$. This may be understood as a very general higher-dimensional extension of the Sturm oscillation theorem.

#### Keywords

Sturm oscillation theorem, nodal set, Laplacian eigenfunction

#### 2010 Mathematics Subject Classification

28A75, 34B24, 34C10, 35B05, 35J05, 35K08, 46E35

This work is supported by the NSF (DMS-1763179) and by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.