WIAS Preprint No. 3094, (2024)

Optimality conditions for sparse optimal control of viscous Cahn--Hilliard systems with logarithmic potential


  • Colli, Pierluigi
    ORCID: 0000-0002-7921-5041
  • Sprekels, Jürgen
    ORCID: 0009-0000-0618-8604
  • Tröltzsch, Fredi

2020 Mathematics Subject Classification

  • 35K51 49K20 49N90 93C20


  • Viscous Cahn--Hilliard equation, singular potential, optimal control, sparsity, first- and second-order optimality conditions




In this paper we study the optimal control of a parabolic initial-boundary value problem of viscous Cahn--Hilliard type with zero Neumann boundary conditions. Phase field systems of this type govern the evolution of diffusive phase transition processes with conserved order parameter. It is assumed that the nonlinear function driving the physical processes within the spatial domain are double-well potentials of logarithmic type whose derivatives become singular at the boundary of their respective domains of definition. For such systems, optimal control problems have been studied in the past. We focus here on the situation when the cost functional of the optimal control problem contains a nondifferentiable term like the $L^1$-norm, which leads to sparsity of optimal controls. For such cases, we establish first-order necessary and second-order sufficient optimality conditions for locally optimal controls. In the approach to second-order sufficient conditions, the main novelty of this paper, we adapt a technique introduced by E. Casas, C. Ryll and F. Tröltzsch in the paper [em SIAM J. Control Optim. bf 53 (2015), 2168--2202]. In this paper, we show that this method can also be successfully applied to systems of viscous Cahn--Hilliard type with logarithmic nonlinearity. Since the Cahn--Hilliard system corresponds to a fourth-order partial differential equation in contrast to the second-order systems investigated before, additional technical difficulties have to be overcome.

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