On the Björling problem for willmore surfaces

David Brander, Peng Wang

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We solve the analogue of Bj¨orling’s problem for Willmore surfaces via a harmonic map representation. For the umbilic-free case the problem and solution are as follows: given a real analytic curve y0 in S3, together with the prescription of the values of the surface normal and the dual Willmore surface along the curve, lifted to
the light cone in Minkowski 5-space R5 1, we prove, using isotropic harmonic maps, that there exists a unique pair of dual Willmore surfaces y and ˆy satisfying the given values along the curve. We give explicit formulae for the generalized Weierstrass data for the surface pair. For the three dimensional target, we use the solution to explicitly describe the Weierstrass data, in terms of geometric quantities, for all equivariant Willmore surfaces. For the case that the surface has umbilic points, we apply the more general half-isotropic harmonic maps introduced by H´elein to derive a solution: in this case the map ˆy is not necessarily the dual surface, and the additional data of a derivative of ˆy must be prescribed. This solution is generalized to higher codimensions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Differential Geometry
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)411-457
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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