Communications in Mathematical Sciences

Volume 9 (2011)

Number 2

Corrector theory for elliptic equations in random media with singular Green’s function. application to random boundaries

Pages: 383 – 411



Guillaume Bal (Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Columbia University)

Wenjia Jing (Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Columbia University)


We consider the problem of the random fluctuations in the solutions to elliptic PDEs with highly oscillatory random coefficients. In our setting, as the correlation length of the fluctuations tends to zero, the heterogeneous solution converges to a deterministic solution obtained by averaging. When the Green’s function to the unperturbed operator is sufficiently singular (i.e., not square integrable locally), the leading corrector to the averaged solution may be either deterministic or random, or both in a sense we shall explain.

Our main application is the solution of an elliptic problem with random Robin boundary condition that may be used to model diffusion of signaling molecules through a layer of cells into a bulk of extracellular medium. The problem is then described by an elliptic pseudo-differential operator (a Dirichlet-to-Neumann operator) on the boundary of the domain with random potential.

In the physical setting of a three dimensional extracellular medium on top of a two-dimensional surface of cells forming a layer of epithelium, we show that the approximate corrector to averaging consists of a deterministic correction plus a Gaussian field of amplitude proportional to the correlation length of the random medium. The result is obtained under some assumptions on the four-point correlation function in the medium. We provide examples of such random media based on Gaussian and Poisson statistics.


boundary homogenization, Robin problem, fluctuation theory, central limits, PDEs with random coefficients, Dirichlet-to-Neumann map

2010 Mathematics Subject Classification

35B27, 35B40, 35R60, 60F05, 60G60

Full Text (PDF format)