Homoclinic orbits to invariant tori in Hamiltonian systems
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We consider a perturbation of an integrable Hamiltonian system which possesses invariant tori with coincident whiskers (like some rotators and a pendulum). Our goal is to measure the splitting distance between the perturbed whiskers, putting emphasis on the detection of their intersections, which give rise to homoclinic orbits to the perturbed tori. A geometric method is presented which takes into account the Lagrangian properties of the whiskers. In this way, the splitting distance is the gradient of a splitting potential. In the regular case (also known as a priori-unstable: the Lyapunov exponents of the whiskered tori remain fixed), the splitting potential is well- approximated by a Melnikov potential. This method is designed as a first step in the study of the singular case (also known as a priori-stable: the Lyapunov exponents of the whiskered tori approach to zero when the perturbation tends to zero).