Stability of nodal structures in graph eigenfunctions and its relation to the nodal domain count

Gregory Berkolaiko, Hillel Raz, Uzy Smilansky
2012 Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical  
The nodal domains of eigenvectors of the discrete Schrodinger operator on simple, finite and connected graphs are considered. Courant's well known nodal domain theorem applies in the present case, and sets an upper bound to the number of nodal domains of eigenvectors: Arranging the spectrum as a non decreasing sequence, and denoting by ν_n the number of nodal domains of the n'th eigenvector, Courant's theorem guarantees that the nodal deficiency n-ν_n is non negative. (The above applies for
more » ... ric eigenvectors. Special care should be exercised for eigenvectors with vanishing components.) The main result of the present work is that the nodal deficiency for generic eigenvectors equals to a Morse index of an energy functional whose value at its relevant critical points coincides with the eigenvalue. The association of the nodal deficiency to the stability of an energy functional at its critical points was recently discussed in the context of quantum graphs [arXiv:1103.1423] and Dirichlet Laplacian in bounded domains in R^d [arXiv:1107.3489]. The present work adapts this result to the discrete case. The definition of the energy functional in the discrete case requires a special setting, substantially different from the one used in [arXiv:1103.1423,arXiv:1107.3489] and it is presented here in detail.
doi:10.1088/1751-8113/45/16/165203 fatcat:a7y4ielnkvbtlc6aizmk7xr7uu