We consider the focusing (attractive) nonlinear Schrödinger (NLS) equation with an external, symmetric potential which vanishes at infinity and supports a linear bound state. We prove that the symmetric, nonlinear ground states must undergo a symmetry breaking bifurcation if the potential has a non-degenerate local maxima at zero. Under a generic assumption we show that the bifurcation is either a subcritical or supercritical pitchfork. In the particular case of double-well potentials with large separation, the power of nonlinearity determines the subcritical or supercritical character of the bifurcation. The results are obtained from a careful analysis of the spectral properties of the ground states at both small and large values for the corresponding eigenvalue parameter.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Mathematical Physics