Boltzmann equation

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The Boltzmann equation is an evolution equation used to describe the configuration of particles in a gas, but only statistically. Specifically, if the probability that a particle in the gas lies in some region $A$ of phase space $\mathbb{R}^d\times \mathbb{R}^d$ at time $t$ is given by

\begin{equation*} \int_A f(x,v,t)dxdy \end{equation*}

then $f(x,v,t)$ solves the non-local equation

\begin{equation*} \partial_t f + v \cdot \nabla_x f = Q(f,f) \end{equation*}

where $Q(f,f)$ is the Boltzmann collision operator, given by

\begin{equation*} Q(f,f)(v) = \int_{\mathbb{R}^d}\int_{\mathbb{S}^{d-1}} B(v-v_*,e) (f(v')f(v'_*)-f(v)f(v_*) d\sigma(e) dv_* \end{equation*}

here $d\sigma$ denotes the Hausdorff measure on $\mathbb{S}^{d-1}$, and given $v,v_* \in \mathbb{R}^d$ and $e \in \mathbb{S}^{d-1}$ we write

\begin{align*} v' & = v-(v-v_*,e)e\\ v'_* & = v_*+(v-v_*,e)e \end{align*}

and $B$, which is known as the Boltzmann collision kernel, measures the strength of collisions in different directions.

Conservation laws

The Landau Equation

For Coulumb interactions, the corresponding collision kernel $B$ always diverges, instead in this case, one uses an equation (which is an asymptotic limit of Boltzmann equation) first derived by Landau,

\begin{equation*} f_t + x\cdot \nabla_y f = Q_{L}(f,f) \end{equation*}

where now $Q_{L}(f,f)$ denotes the Landau collision operator, which can be written as

\begin{equation*} Q_{L}(f,f) = \text{Tr}(A[f]D^2f)+f^2 \end{equation*}

where $A[f]$ is the matrix valued operator given by convolution with the matrix kernel $K(y)= (8\pi|y|)^{-1}\left ( I -\hat y\otimes \hat y)\right )$, $\hat y = y/|y|$. In particular, any solution to the Landau equation which stays bounded and vanishes fasts enough at infinity will be solving a second-order parabolic equation with H\"older continuous coefficients.

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