Few distinct distances implies no heavy lines or circles

We study the structure of planar point sets that determine a small number of distinct distances. Specifically, we show that if a set of n points determines o(n) distinct distances, then no line contains Omega(n (7/8)) points of and no circle contains Omega(n (5/6)) points of . We rely on the partial variant of the Elekes-Sharir framework that was introduced by Sharir, Sheffer, and Solymosi in [19] for bipartite distinct distance problems. To prove our bound for the case of lines we combine this framework with a theorem from additive combinatorics, and for our bound for the case of circles we combine it with some basic algebraic geometry and a recent incidence bound for plane algebraic curves by Wang, Yang, and Zhang [20]. A significant difference between our approach and that of [19] (and of other related results) is that instead of dealing with distances between two point sets that are restricted to one-dimensional curves, we consider distances between one set that is restricted to a curve and one set with no restrictions on it.

Published in:
Combinatorica, 36, 3, 349-364
Heidelberg, Springer Heidelberg

 Record created 2016-10-18, last modified 2018-12-03

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