In mathematics, Gårding's inequality is a result that gives a lower bound for the bilinear form induced by a real linear elliptic partial differential operator. The inequality is named after Lars Gårding.
Statement of the inequality
Let Ω be a bounded, open domain in n-dimensional Euclidean space and let Hk(Ω) denote the Sobolev space of k-times weakly differentiable functions u : Ω → R with weak derivatives in L2. Assume that Ω satisfies the k-extension property, i.e., that there exists a bounded linear operator E : Hk(Ω) → Hk(Rn) such that (Eu)|Ω = u for all u in Hk(Ω).
Let L be a linear partial differential operator of even order 2k, written in divergence form
and suppose that L is uniformly elliptic, i.e., there exists a constant θ > 0 such that
Then Gårding's inequality holds: there exist constants C > 0 and G ≥ 0
is the bilinear form associated to the operator L.
Application: the Laplace operator and the Poisson problem
where Ω is a bounded Lipschitz domain in Rn. The corresponding weak form of the problem is to find u in the Sobolev space H01(Ω) such that
The Lax–Milgram lemma ensures that if the bilinear form B is both continuous and elliptic with respect to the norm on H01(Ω), then, for each f ∈ L2(Ω), a unique solution u must exist in H01(Ω). The hypotheses of Gårding's inequality are easy to verify for the Laplace operator Δ, so there exist constants C and G ≥ 0
Applying the Poincaré inequality allows the two terms on the right-hand side to be combined, yielding a new constant K > 0 with
which is precisely the statement that B is elliptic. The continuity of B is even easier to see: simply apply the Cauchy-Schwarz inequality and the fact that the Sobolev norm is controlled by the L2 norm of the gradient.