Sub-riemannian Geometry and Periodic Orbits in Classical Billiards


Classical (Birkhoff) billiards with full 1-parameter families of periodic orbits are considered. It is shown that construction of a convex billiard with a “rational” caustic (i.e. carrying only periodic orbits ) can be reformulated as the problem of finding a closed curve tangent to a non-integrable distribution on a manifold. The properties of this distribution are described as well as the consequences for the billiards with rational caustics. A particular implication of this construction is that an ellipse can be infinitesimally perturbed so that any chosen rational elliptic caustic will persist.

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@inproceedings{Baryshnikov2006SubriemannianGA, title={Sub-riemannian Geometry and Periodic Orbits in Classical Billiards}, author={Yuliy Baryshnikov and Vadim Zharnitsky}, year={2006} }