The Journal of Geometric Analysis

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 3603–3656 | Cite as

Yang–Mills Replacement

  • Yakov Berchenko-KoganEmail author


We develop an analog of harmonic replacement in the gauge theory context. The idea behind harmonic replacement dates back to Schwarz and Perron. The technique, as introduced by Jost and further developed by Colding and Minicozzi, involves taking a map \(v:\Sigma \rightarrow M\) defined on a surface \(\Sigma \) and replacing its values on a small ball \(B^2\subset \Sigma \) with a harmonic map u that has the same values as v on the boundary \(\partial B^2\). The resulting map on \(\Sigma \) has lower energy, and repeating this process on balls covering \(\Sigma \), one can obtain a global harmonic map in the limit. We develop the analogous procedure in the gauge theory context. We take a connection B on a bundle over a four-manifold X, and replace it on a small ball \(B^4\subset X\) with a Yang–Mills connection A that has the same restriction to the boundary \({\partial B^4}\) as B. As in the harmonic replacement results of Colding and Minicozzi, we have bounds on the difference \(||{B-A}||_{{{L^{2}_{1}(B^4)}}}^2\) in terms of the drop in energy, and we only require that the connection B has small energy on the ball, rather than small \(C^0\) oscillation. Throughout, we work with connections of the lowest possible regularity \({{L^{2}_{1}(X)}}\), the natural choice for this context, and so our gauge transformations are in \({{L^{2}_{2}(X)}}\) and therefore almost but not quite continuous, leading to more delicate arguments than in higher regularity.


Yang–Mills Harmonic replacement Gauge theory Gauge fixing 

Mathematics Subject Classification

Primary 58E15 Secondary 58E20 



I would like to thank my dissertation advisor Tomasz Mrowka for his guidance and the huge amount of math I have learned from him over these past five years. I would also like to thank Paul Feehan for his detailed feedback on this project and for his encouragement and support. Finally, I would like to thank William Minicozzi, Larry Guth, Emmy Murphy, Antonella Marini, Tristan Rivière, and Karen Uhlenbeck for the helpful conversations. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grants No. 1406348 (PI Mrowka) and 0943787 (RTG). I was also supported by the NDSEG fellowship and by MIT.


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© Mathematica Josephina, Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Washington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA

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