In this survey, we discuss some recent results on free boundary minimal surfaces in the Euclidean unit-ball. The subject has been a very active field of research in the past few years due to the seminal work of Fraser and Schoen on the extremal Steklov eigenvalue problem. We review several different techniques of constructing examples of embedded free boundary minimal surfaces in the unit ball. Next, we discuss some uniqueness results for free boundary minimal disks and the conjecture about the uniqueness of critical catenoid. We also discuss several Morse index estimates for free boundary minimal surfaces. Moreover, we describe estimates for the first Steklov eigenvalue on such free boundary minimal surfaces and various smooth compactness results. Finally, we mention some sharp area bounds for free boundary minimal submanifolds and related questions.
For any smooth Riemannian metric on an (n+1)-dimensional compact manifold with boundary (M,∂M) where 3≤(n+1)≤7, we establish general upper bounds for the Morse index of free boundary minimal hypersurfaces produced by min-max theory in the Almgren-Pitts setting. We apply our Morse index estimates to prove that for almost every (in the C-infinity Baire sense) Riemannan metric, the union of all compact, properly embedded free boundary minimal hypersurfaces is dense in M. If ∂M is further assumed to have a strictly mean convex point, we show the existence of infinitely many compact, properly embedded free boundary minimal hypersurfaces whose boundaries are non-empty. Our results prove a conjecture of Yau for generic metrics in the free boundary setting.
We establish a boundary maximum principle for free boundary minimal submanifolds in a Riemannian manifold with boundary, in any dimension and codimension. Our result holds more generally in the context of varifolds.
In this paper, we prove uniform curvature estimates for immersed stable free boundary minimal hypersurfaces satisfying a uniform area bound, which generalize the celebrated Schoen–Simon–Yau interior curvature estimates up to the free boundary. Our curvature estimates imply a smooth compactness theorem which is an essential ingredient in the min-max theory of free boundary minimal hypersurfaces developed by the last two authors. We also prove a monotonicity formula for free boundary minimal submanifolds in Riemannian manifolds for any dimension and codimension. For 3-manifolds with boundary, we prove a stronger curvature estimate for properly embedded stable free boundary minimal surfaces without a-priori area bound. This generalizes Schoen’s interior curvature estimates to the free boundary setting. Our proof uses the theory of minimal laminations developed by Colding and Minicozzi.
In this paper, we prove a general existence theorem for properly embedded minimal surfaces with free boundary in any compact Riemannian 3‐manifold M with boundary ∂M. These minimal surfaces are either disjoint from ∂M or meet ∂M orthogonally. The main feature of our result is that there is no assumptions on the curvature of M or convexity of ∂M. We prove the boundary regularity of the minimal surfaces at their free boundaries. Furthermore, we define a topological invariant, the filling genus, for compact 3‐manifolds with boundary and show that we can bound the genus of the minimal surface constructed above in terms of the filling genus of the ambient manifold M. Our proof employs a variant of the min‐max construction used by Colding and De Lellis on closed embedded minimal surfaces, which were first developed by Almgren and Pitts.
We prove a lower bound for the first Steklov eigenvalue of embedded minimal hypersurfaces with free boundary in a compact n-dimensional Riemannian manifold which has nonnegative Ricci curvature and strictly convex boundary. When n=3, this implies an apriori curvature estimate for these minimal surfaces in terms of the geometry of the ambient manifold and the topology of the minimal surface. An important consequence of the estimate is a smooth compactness theorem for embedded minimal surfaces with free boundary when the topological type of these minimal surfaces is fixed.
We study the rigidity results for self-shrinkers in Euclidean space by restriction of the image under the Gauss map. The geometric properties of the target manifolds carry into effect. In the self-shrinking hypersurface situation Theorem 3.1and Theorem 3.2 not only improve the previous results, but also are optimal. In higher codimensional case, using geometric properties of the Grassmannian manifolds (the target manifolds of the Gauss map) we give a rigidity theorem for self-shrinking graphs.
For any n-dimensional smooth manifold $\Sigma$, we show that all the singularities of the mean curvature flow with any initial mean convex hypersurface in $\Sigma$ are cylindrical (of convex type) if the flow converges to a smooth hypersurface $M_\infty$ (maybe empty) at infinity. Previously this was shown (i) for n$\leq$7, and (ii) for arbitrary n up to the first singular time without the smooth condition on $M_\infty$.
We study minimal hypersurfaces in manifolds of non-negative Ricci curvature, Euclidean volume growth and quadratic curvature decay at infinity. By comparison with capped spherical cones, we identify a precise borderline for the Ricci curvature decay. Above this value, no complete area-minimizing hypersurfaces exist. Below this value, in contrast, we construct examples.
We study minimal graphic functions on complete Riemannian manifolds $\Sigma$ with non-negative Ricci curvature, Euclidean volume growth and quadratic curvature decay. We derive global bounds for the gradients for minimal graphic functions of linear growth only on one side. Then we can obtain a Liouville type theorem with such growth via splitting for tangent cones of $\Sigma$ at infinity. When, in contrast, we do not impose any growth restrictions for minimal graphic functions, we also obtain a Liouville type theorem under a certain non-radial Ricci curvature decay condition on $\Sigma$. In particular, the borderline for the Ricci curvature decay is sharp by our example in the last section.