High order BV function has continuous representative

As known, bounded variation (BV) functions are not continuous, but evidently higher order BV functions on corresponding dimension have continuous representative. As a consequence, {W^{n,1}({\mathbb R}^n) \hookrightarrow C^0({\mathbb R}^n)}.

Definition A function {f \in BV_n({\mathbb R}^n)}, if {f \in W^{n-1,1}({\mathbb R}^n)}, and the nth order distributional derivative {D^n f} is a finite Radon measure.

Theorem If {f \in BV_n({\mathbb R}^n)}, then {f} has a continuous representative.

Proof: Note that {C_c^\infty({\mathbb R}^n)} is dense in {BV_n({\mathbb R}^n)}, i.e. for any {f \in BV_n({\mathbb R}^n)}, there exists a sequence {f_k \in C_c^\infty({\mathbb R}^n)} such that {\lim_{k \rightarrow \infty} f_k = f} in {W^{n-1,1}}, and {\lim_{k\rightarrow \infty} \| \nabla^n f_k\|_{L^1({\mathbb R}^n)} = \|D^n f \| ({\mathbb R}^n)}. (See for example, book by Evans and Gariepy). So it suffice to show for all {f \in C_c^\infty({\mathbb R}^n)},

\displaystyle \|f\|_{L^\infty({\mathbb R}^n)} \le \| \nabla^n f\|_{L^1({\mathbb R}^n)}

Indeed,

\displaystyle f(x_1, \cdots , x_n) = \int_{-\infty}^{x_1} \partial_1 f(s_1,x_2, \cdots , x_n)\,ds_1 = \int_{-\infty}^{x_1} \cdots \int_{-\infty}^{x_n} \partial_1 \cdots \partial_n f

This gives us the desire inequality. Then by density result we know that {BV_n({\mathbb R}^n)} admits continuous representative for every element. \Box

Corollary {W^{n,1}({\mathbb R}^n) \hookrightarrow C^0({\mathbb R}^n)}.

Remark If the dimension is greater than the order of BV function, then the above theorem will fail. For example, let {f(x) = |x|^{-\frac{1}{2}}} be defined in a neighborhood {\Omega} around 0, with smooth boundary in {{\mathbb R}^3}. {|\nabla f| \sim |x|^{-\frac{3}{2}}} and {|\nabla^2 f| \sim |x|^{-\frac{5}{2}}}. So {f \in W^{2,1}(\Omega)}. Then we can extend {f} on {{\mathbb R}^3}, since {\partial \Omega} is smooth (See for example, PDE book by Evans). But then {f \rightarrow \infty} as {|x| \rightarrow 0}, which doesn’t admit a continuous representative.

Composition of sobolev functions

The following materials are exercise 8.10 and 8.11 from the functional analysis book by Prof. Brezis. The questions arise from whether we can well define a composition of two W^{1,p} functions or not. From Corollary 8.11 we know if G \in C^1, u \in W^{1,p}, G(u) \in W^{1,p} is well defined. However bad things might happen if G \in W^{1,p}. For instance, G(x) = |x|, then G(u) might be bad on the set \{ u = 0\}. I thought we could still define things in the sense of distribution, but Prof. Brezis said in this special case we could have something more than that, because of the following propositions. The proof is not hard by following the hints, but the idea is really clever (IMO)!

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