An analogue of Khintchine's theorem for self-conformal sets

Simon Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Khintchine's theorem is a classical result from metric number theory which relates the Lebesgue measure of certain limsup sets with the convergence/divergence of naturally occurring volume sums. In this paper we ask whether an analogous result holds for iterated function systems (IFS's). We say that an IFS is approximation regular if we observe Khintchine type behaviour, i.e., if the size of certain limsup sets defined using the IFS is determined by the convergence/divergence of naturally occurring sums. We prove that an IFS is approximation regular if it consists of conformal mappings and satisfies the open set condition. The divergence condition we introduce incorporates the inhomogeneity present within the IFS. We demonstrate via an example that such an approach is essential. We also formulate an analogue of the Duffin–Schaeffer conjecture and show that it holds for a set of full Hausdorff dimension.

Combining our results with the mass transference principle of Beresnevich and Velani, we prove a general result that implies the existence of exceptional points within the attractor of our IFS. These points are exceptional in the sense that they are “very well approximated”. As a corollary of this result, we obtain a general solution to a problem of Mahler, and prove that there are badly approximable numbers that are very well approximated by quadratic irrationals.

The ideas put forward in this paper are introduced in the general setting of iterated function systems that may contain overlaps. We believe that by viewing iterated function systems from the perspective of metric number theory, one can gain a greater insight into the extent to which they overlap. The results of this paper should be interpreted as a first step in this investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-597
Number of pages31
JournalMathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Issue number3
Early online date3 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


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