Duke Mathematical Journal

Serrin’s overdetermined problem and constant mean curvature surfaces

Manuel Del Pino, Frank Pacard, and Juncheng Wei

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For all N9, we find smooth entire epigraphs in RN, namely, smooth domains of the form Ω:={xRN|xN>F(x1,,xN1)}, which are not half-spaces and in which a problem of the form Δu+f(u)=0 in Ω has a positive, bounded solution with 0 Dirichlet boundary data and constant Neumann boundary data on Ω. This answers negatively for large dimensions a question by Berestycki, Caffarelli, and Nirenberg. In 1971, Serrin proved that a bounded domain where such an overdetermined problem is solvable must be a ball, in analogy to a famous result by Alexandrov that states that an embedded compact surface with constant mean curvature (CMC) in Euclidean space must be a sphere. In lower dimensions we succeed in providing examples for domains whose boundary is close to large dilations of a given CMC surface where Serrin’s overdetermined problem is solvable.

Article information

Duke Math. J., Volume 164, Number 14 (2015), 2643-2722.

Received: 15 October 2013
Revised: 9 November 2014
First available in Project Euclid: 26 October 2015

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Mathematical Reviews number (MathSciNet)

Zentralblatt MATH identifier

Primary: 35J25: Boundary value problems for second-order elliptic equations
Secondary: 35J67: Boundary values of solutions to elliptic equations

overdetermined elliptic equation constant mean curvature surface entire minimal graph


Del Pino, Manuel; Pacard, Frank; Wei, Juncheng. Serrin’s overdetermined problem and constant mean curvature surfaces. Duke Math. J. 164 (2015), no. 14, 2643--2722. doi:10.1215/00127094-3146710. https://projecteuclid.org/euclid.dmj/1445865570

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