Power laws, scale invariance and the generalized frobenius series: Applications to Newtonian and tov stars near criticality

Matt Visser, Nicolas Yunes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


We present a self-contained formalism for calculating the background solution, the linearized solutions and a class of generalized Frobenius-like solutions to a system of scale-invariant differential equations. We first cast the scale-invariant model into its equidimensional and autonomous forms, find its fixed points, and then obtain power-law background solutions. After linearizing about these fixed points, we find a second linearized solution, which provides a distinct collection of power laws characterizing the deviations from the fixed point. We prove that generically there will be a region surrounding the fixed point in which the complete general solution can be represented as a generalized Frobenius-like power series with exponents that are integer multiples of the exponents arising in the linearized problem. While discussions of the linearized system are common, and one can often find a discussion of power-series with integer exponents, power series with irrational (indeed complex) exponents are much rarer in the extant literature. The Frobenius-like series we encounter can be viewed as a variant of the rarely-discussed Liapunov expansion theorem (not to be confused with the more commonly encountered Liapunov functions and Liapunov exponents). As specific examples we apply these ideas to Newtonian and relativistic isothermal stars and construct two separate power series with the overlapping radius of convergence. The second of these power series solutions represents an expansion around "spatial infinity," and in realistic models it is this second power series that gives information about the stellar core, and the damped oscillations in core mass and core radius as the central pressure goes to infinity. The power-series solutions we obtain extend classical results; as exemplified for instance by the work of Lane, Emden, and Chandrasekhar in the Newtonian case, and that of Harrison, Thorne, Wakano, and Wheeler in the relativistic case. We also indicate how to extend these ideas to situations where fixed points may not exist - either due to "monotone" flow or due to the presence of limit cycles. Monotone flow generically leads to logarithmic deviations from scaling, while limit cycles generally lead to discrete self-similax solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3433-3468
Number of pages36
JournalInternational Journal of Modern Physics A
Issue number20
StatePublished - Aug 10 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Critical exponents
  • Frobenius series
  • Power laws
  • Scaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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