Thermodynamic Limit for Directed Polymers and Stationary Solutions of the Burgers Equation

Yuri Bakhtin, Liying Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The first goal of this paper is to prove multiple asymptotic results for a time-discrete and space-continuous polymer model of a random walk in a random potential. These results include: existence of deterministic free energy density in the infinite-volume limit for every fixed asymptotic slope, concentration inequalities for free energy implying a bound on its fluctuation exponent, and straightness estimates implying a bound on the transversal fluctuation exponent. The culmination of this program is almost sure existence and uniqueness of polymer measures on one-sided infinite paths with given endpoint and slope, and interpretation of these infinite-volume Gibbs measures as thermodynamic limits. Moreover, we prove that marginals of polymer measures with the same slope and different endpoints are asymptotic to each other. The second goal of the paper is to develop ergodic theory of the Burgers equation with positive viscosity and random kick forcing on the real line without any compactness assumptions. Namely, we prove a one force–one solution principle, using the infinite-volume polymer measures to construct a family of stationary global solutions for this system, and proving that each of those solutions is a one-point pullback attractor on the initial conditions with the same spatial average. This provides a natural extension of the same program realized for the inviscid Burgers equation with the help of action minimizers that can be viewed as zero temperature limits of polymer measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)536-619
Number of pages84
JournalCommunications on Pure and Applied Mathematics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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