Dimension theory and fractal constructions based on self-affine carpets
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The aim of this thesis is to develop the dimension theory of self-affine carpets in several directions. Self-affine carpets are an important class of planar self-affine sets which have received a great deal of attention in the literature on fractal geometry over the last 30 years. These constructions are important for several reasons. In particular, they provide a bridge between the relatively well-understood world of self-similar sets and the far from understood world of general self-affine sets. These carpets are designed in such a way as to facilitate the computation of their dimensions, and they display many interesting and surprising features which the simpler self-similar constructions do not have. For example, they can have distinct Hausdorff and packing dimensions and the Hausdorff and packing measures are typically infinite in the critical dimensions. Furthermore, they often provide exceptions to the seminal result of Falconer from 1988 which gives the `generic' dimensions of self-affine sets in a natural setting. The work in this thesis will be based on five research papers I wrote during my time as a PhD student. The first contribution of this thesis will be to introduce a new class of self-affine carpets, which we call box-like self-affine sets, and compute their box and packing dimensions via a modified singular value function. This not only generalises current results on self-affine carpets, but also helps to reconcile the `exceptional constructions' with Falconer's singular value function approach in the generic case. This will appear in Chapter 2 and is based on a paper which appeared in 'Nonlinearity' in 2012. In Chapter 3 we continue studying the dimension theory of self-affine sets by computing the Assouad and lower dimensions of certain classes. The Assouad and lower dimensions have not received much attention in the literature on fractals to date and their importance has been more related to quasi-conformal maps and embeddability problems. This appears to be changing, however, and so our results constitute a timely and important contribution to a growing body of literature on the subject. The material in this Chapter will be based on a paper which has been accepted for publication in 'Transactions of the American Mathematical Society'. In Chapters 4-6 we move away from the classical setting of iterated function systems to consider two more exotic constructions, namely, inhomogeneous attractors and random 1-variable attractors, with the aim of developing the dimension theory of self-affine carpets in these directions. In order to put our work into context, in Chapter 4 we consider inhomogeneous self-similar sets and significantly generalise the results on box dimensions obtained by Olsen and Snigireva, answering several questions posed in the literature in the process. We then move to the self-affine setting and, in Chapter 5, investigate the dimensions of inhomogeneous self-affine carpets and prove that new phenomena can occur in this setting which do not occur in the setting of self-similar sets. The material in Chapter 4 will be based on a paper which appeared in 'Studia Mathematica' in 2012, and the material in Chapter 5 is based on a paper, which is in preparation. Finally, in Chapter 6 we consider random self-affine sets. The traditional approach to random iterated function systems is probabilistic, but here we allow the randomness in the construction to be provided by the topological structure of the sample space, employing ideas from Baire category. We are able to obtain very general results in this setting, relaxing the conditions on the maps from `affine' to `bi-Lipschitz'. In order to get precise results on the Hausdorff and packing measures of typical attractors, we need to specialise to the setting of random self-similar sets and we show again that several interesting and new phenomena can occur when we relax to the setting of random self-affine carpets. The material in this Chapter will be based on a paper which has been accepted for publication by 'Ergodic Theory and Dynamical Systems'.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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