Quantitative Steepness, Semi-FKPP Reactions, and Pushmi-Pullyu Fronts

Jing An, Christopher Henderson, Lenya Ryzhik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We uncover a seemingly previously unnoticed algebraic structure of a large class of reaction–diffusion equations and use it to study the long time behavior of the solutions and their convergence to traveling waves in the pulled and pushed regimes, as well as at the pushmi-pullyu boundary. One such new object introduced in this paper is the shape defect function, which, indirectly, measures the difference between the profiles of the solution and the traveling wave. While one can recast the classical notion of ‘steepness’ in terms of the positivity of the shape defect function, its positivity can, surprisingly, be used in numerous quantitative ways. In particular, the positivity is used in a new weighted Hopf-Cole transform and in a relative entropy approach that play a key role in the stability arguments. The shape defect function also gives a new connection between reaction–diffusion equations and reaction conservation laws at the pulled-pushed transition. Other simple but seemingly new algebraic constructions in the present paper supply various unexpected inequalities sprinkled throughout the paper. Of note is a new variational formulation that applies equally to pulled and pushed fronts, opening the door to an as-yet-elusive variational analysis in the pulled case.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number88
JournalArchive for Rational Mechanics and Analysis
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analysis
  • Mathematics (miscellaneous)
  • Mechanical Engineering


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