Genericity on curves and applications: pseudo-integrable billiards, Eaton lenses and gap distributions

Krzysztof Fraczek, Ronggang Shi, Corinna Ulcigrai

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In this paper we prove results on Birkhoff and Oseledets genericity along certain curves in the space of affine lattices and in moduli spaces of translation surfaces. We also prove applications of these results to dynamical billiards, mathematical physics and number theory. In the space of affine lattices ASL2(R)/ASL2(Z), we prove that almost every point on a curve with some non-degeneracy assumptions is Birkhoff generic for the geodesic flow. This implies almost everywhere genericity for some curves in the locus of branched covers of the torus inside the stratum H(1,1) of translation surfaces. For these curves (and more in general curves which are well-approximated by horocycle arcs and satisfy almost everywhere Birkhoff genericity) we also prove that almost every point is Oseledets generic for the Kontsevitch-Zorich cocycle, generalizing a recent result by Chaika and Eskin. As applications, we first consider a class of pseudo-integrable billiards, billiards in ellipses with barriers, which was recently explored by Dragovic and Radnovic, and prove that for almost every parameter, the billiard flow is uniquely ergodic within the region of phase space in which it is trapped. We then consider any periodic array of Eaton retroreflector lenses, placed on vertices of a lattice, and prove that in almost every direction light rays are each confined to a band of finite width. This generalizes a phenomenon recently discovered by Fraczek and Schmoll which could so far only be proved for random periodic configurations. Finally, a result on the gap distribution of fractional parts of the sequence of square roots of positive integers, which extends previous work by Elkies and McMullen, is also obtained.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-122
Number of pages68
JournalJournal of Modern Dynamics
Early online date15 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Homogeneous dynamics
  • translation surfaces
  • Kontsevich-Zorich cocycle
  • equidistribution
  • ergodic theorem
  • Oseledets theorem
  • Eaton lenses
  • gap distribution
  • pseudo-integrable billiards


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