 Research
 Open Access
 Published:
Fractional boundary value problems with RiemannLiouville fractional derivatives
Advances in Difference Equations volume 2015, Article number: 80 (2015)
Abstract
In this paper, by employing two fixed point theorems of a sum operators, we investigate the existence and uniqueness of positive solutions for the following fractional boundary value problems: \(D_{0+}^{\alpha}x(t)=f(t, x(t), x(t))+g(t, x(t))\), \(0< t <1\), \(1< \alpha<2\), where \(D_{0+}^{\alpha}\) is the standard RiemannLiouville fractional derivative, subject to either the boundary conditions \(x(0)=x(1)=0\) or \(x(0)=0\), \(x(1)=\beta x(\eta)\) with \(\eta, \beta\eta^{\alpha1} \in(0,1)\). We also construct an iterative scheme to approximate the solution. As applications of the main results, two examples are given.
1 Introduction
Fractional differential equations are important mathematical models of some practical problems in many fields such as polymer rheology, chemistry physics, heat conduction, fluid flows, electrical networks, and many other branches of science (see [1–7]). Consequently, the fractional calculus and its applications in various fields of science and engineering have received much attention, and many papers and books on fractional calculus, fractional differential equations have appeared (see [8–15]). It should be noted that most of the papers and books on fractional calculus are devoted to the solvability of the existence of positive solutions for nonlinear fractional differential equation boundary value problems (see [16–21]). However, there are few papers to deal with the existence and uniqueness of positive solutions for nonlinear fractional differential equation boundary value problems.
In this paper, we study the existence and uniqueness of positive solutions to the following two nonlinear RiemannLiouville fractional differential equation boundary value problems:
and
where \(D_{0+}^{\alpha}\) is the standard RiemannLiouville fractional derivative and \(\eta, \beta\eta^{\alpha1} \in(0,1)\).
In [22], by means of the Krasnoselskii fixed point theorem, Jiang and Yuan obtained the existence of positive solutions to the following nonlinear fractional differential equation Dirichlettype boundary value problem:
Bai and Lü [23] obtained some existence results of positive solutions of the problem by (3) using some fixed point theorems on cone. A more general equation with f depending on derivatives was studied in [24]. In [25], the authors studied the boundary value problems of the fractional order differential equation:
where \(0\leq\beta, \eta\leq1\). They established some existence results of positive solutions. In [26], the boundary condition \(D_{0+}^{\beta}u(1)=aD_{0+}^{\beta}u(\xi )\) was considered, where \(0\leq\beta\leq1\), \(0\leq a\leq1\), \(0<\xi <1\). They obtained the multiple positive solutions by the LeraySchauder nonlinear alternative and the fixed point theorem on cones.
Motivated by the results mentioned above, in this paper, we study the existence and uniqueness of positive solutions for the BVP (1) and (2). We have found that no result has been established for the existence and uniqueness of positive solutions for the problem (1) and (2) of fractional differential equation. This paper aims to establish the existence and uniqueness of positive solutions for the problem (1) and (2). The technique relies on two fixed point theorems of a sum operator. The method used in this paper is different from the ones in the papers mentioned above. In addition, we also construct an iterative sequence to approximate the solution.
The rest of this paper is organized as follows. In Section 2, we recall some definitions and facts. In Section 3, the main results are discussed by using the properties of the Green function and the fixed point theorem on mixed monotone operators. Finally, in Section 4, we give two examples to demonstrate our results.
2 Preliminaries
In this section, we recall some definitions and facts which will be used in the later analysis. For convenience, we introduce the following notations:

(1)
\(\lceil\alpha\rceil\): the smallest integer greater than or equal to α;

(2)
\([\alpha]\): the integer part of the number α;

(3)
\(\Gamma(\alpha)=\int_{0}^{\infty}t^{\alpha1}e^{t}\,dt\).
Definition 2.1
([27])
The RiemannLiouville fractional integral of order \(\alpha>0\) of a function \(f:(0,\infty)\rightarrow R\) is given by
provided that the right side is pointwise defined on \((0,\infty)\).
Definition 2.2
([27])
The RiemannLiouville fractional derivative of order \(\alpha>0\) of a function \(f:(0,\infty)\rightarrow R\) is given by
where \(n=[\alpha]+1\), provided that the right side is pointwise defined on \((0,\infty)\).
Lemma 2.1
([23])
Assume that \(u\in C(0,1)\cap L(0,1)\) with a fractional derivative of order \(\alpha>0\). Then
for some \(c_{i}\in R\), \(i=1, 2, 3, \ldots, N\), where \(N=\lceil\alpha\rceil\).
Denote by E a real Banach space. Recall that a nonempty closed convex set \(P\subset E\) is a cone if it satisfies (i) \(x\in P\), \(\lambda\geq0\Rightarrow\lambda x\in P \) and (ii) \(x\in P\), \(x\in P\Rightarrow x=\theta\). Suppose that \((E, \\cdot\)\) is a real Banach space which is partially ordered by a cone \(P \subset E\), i.e., \(x\leq y\) if and only if \(yx\in P\). The cone P is called normal if there exists a constant \(N>0\) such that, for all \(x, y \in E\), \(\theta\leq x\leq y\) implies \(\x\\leq N\y\\), and N is called the normal constant. Putting \(P^{o}=\{x\in P\mid x \mbox{ is an interior point of } P \}\), the cone P is said to be solid if its interior \(P^{o}\) is nonempty. If \(x_{1}, x_{2}\in E\), the set \([x_{1}, x_{2}]=\{x\in E\mid x_{1}\leq x\leq x_{2}\}\) is called the order interval between \(x_{1}\) and \(x_{2}\). We say that an operator \(A: E\rightarrow E\) is increasing (decreasing) if \(x\leq y\) implies \(Ax\leq Ay\) (\(Ax\geq Ay\)).
For \(x, y\in E\), the notation \(x\sim y\) means that there exist \(\lambda>0\) and \(\mu>0\) such that \(\lambda x\leq y\leq\mu x\). Clearly, ∼ is an equivalence relation. Given \(h> \theta\) (i.e., \(h\geq\theta\) and \(h\neq\theta\)), let \(P_{h}=\{x\in E\mid x\sim h\}\). If \(P_{h}\subset P^{o}\), then \(P_{h}=P^{o}\).
The basic space used in this paper is the space \(C[0, 1]\), it is a Banach space if it is endowed with the norm \(\x\=\sup\{ x(t): t\in[0, 1]\}\) for any \(x\in C[0, 1]\). Notice that this space can be equipped with a partial order given by \(x, y\in C[0, 1]\), \(x\leq y\Longleftrightarrow x(t)\leq y(t)\) for \(t\in[0, 1]\). Let \(P\subset C[0, 1]\) by \(P=\{x\in C[0, 1]\mid x(t)\geq0, t\in[0, 1]\}\). Clearly P is a normal cone in \(C[0, 1]\) and the normality constant is 1.
Lemma 2.2
([22])
Given \(y\in C[0, 1]\) and \(1<\alpha\leq 2\), the unique solution of
is
where \(G(t, s)\) is the Green function of the BVP (4) and is given by
Lemma 2.3
([22])
\(G(t, s)\) satisfies the following properties:

(1)
\(G(t, s)\in C([0, 1]\times[0, 1])\);

(2)
\(G(t, s)>0\) for \(t, s \in(0, 1)\);

(3)
for all \(t, s \in(0, 1)\),
$$\frac{\alpha1}{\Gamma(\alpha)}t^{\alpha1}(1t) (1s)^{\alpha1}s\leq G(t, s)\leq\frac{1}{\Gamma(\alpha)}t^{\alpha1}(1t) (1s)^{\alpha2}. $$(5)
Lemma 2.4
Assume that \(f: [0, 1]\times[0, \infty )\times[0, \infty)\rightarrow[0, \infty)\) and \(g:[0, 1]\times[0, \infty)\rightarrow[0, \infty)\) are continuous. A function \(u\in P\) is a solution of the BVP (1) if and only if it is a solution of the integral equation
Proof
The proof is similar to Lemma 2.2 and omitted. □
Lemma 2.5
([25])
Given \(y \in C[0, 1]\), the problem
is equivalent to
where \(H(t, s)\) is the Green function of the BVP (7) and is given by
Lemma 2.6
([25])
\(H(t, s)\) has the following properties:

(1)
\(H(t, s)\in C([0, 1]\times[0, 1])\);

(2)
\(H(t, s)>0\) for \(t, s \in(0, 1)\);

(3)
for all \(t, s \in(0, 1)\),
$$ \frac{M_{0}t^{\alpha1}s(1s)^{\alpha1}}{\Gamma(\alpha)(1\beta\eta ^{\alpha1})}\leq H(t, s)\leq\frac{t^{\alpha1}(1s)^{\alpha1}}{\Gamma (\alpha)(1\beta\eta^{\alpha1})}, $$(8)where \(0< M_{0}=\min\{1\beta\eta^{\alpha1}, \beta\eta^{\alpha1}\}<1\).
Lemma 2.7
Assume that \(f: [0, 1]\times[0, \infty )\times[0, \infty)\rightarrow[0, \infty)\) and \(g:[0, 1]\times[0, \infty)\rightarrow[0, \infty)\) are continuous. A function \(u\in P\) is a solution of the BVP (2) if and only if it is a solution of the integral equation
Proof
The proof is similar to Lemma 2.5 and omitted. □
Definition 2.3
([28])
\(A: P\times P\rightarrow P\) is said to be a mixed monotone operator if \(A(u, v)\) is increasing in u and decreasing in v, i.e., \(u_{i}, v_{i}\ (i=1, 2)\in P\), \(u_{1}\leq u_{2}\), \(v_{1}\geq v_{2}\) imply \(A(u_{1}, v_{1})\leq A(u_{2}, v_{2})\). The element \(x\in P\) is called a fixed point of A if \(A(x, x)=x\).
Definition 2.4
([29])
An operator \(A: E\rightarrow E\) is said to be positive homogeneous if it satisfies \(A(tx)=tAx\), \(\forall t>0\), \(x\in E\). An operator \(A: P\rightarrow P\) is said to be subhomogeneous if it satisfies
Definition 2.5
([29])
Let \(D=P\) and r be a real number with \(0\leq r<1\). An operator \(A: P\rightarrow P\) is said to be rconcave if it satisfies
Lemma 2.8
([28])
Let \(h>\theta\) and \(\beta \in(0, 1)\). \(A: P\times P\rightarrow P\) is a mixed monotone operator and satisfies
\(B: P \rightarrow P\) is an increasing subhomogeneous operator. Assume that

(i)
there is a \(h_{0}\in P_{h}\) such that \(A(h_{0}, h_{0})\in P_{h}\) and \(Bh_{0}\in P_{h}\);

(ii)
there exists a constant \(\delta_{0}>0\) such that \(A(x, y)\geq \delta_{0}Bx\), \(\forall x, y\in P\).
Then

(1)
\(A: P_{h}\times P_{h}\rightarrow P_{h}\), \(B: P_{h}\rightarrow P_{h}\);

(2)
there exist \(u_{0}, v_{0}\in P_{h}\) and \(\gamma\in(0, 1)\) such that \(\gamma v_{0}\leq u_{0}< v_{0}\), \(u_{0}\leq A(u_{0}, v_{0})+ Bu_{0}\leq A(v_{0}, u_{0})+Bv_{0}\leq v_{0}\);

(3)
the operator equation \(A(x, x)+Bx=x\) has a unique solution \(x^{*}\) in \(P_{h}\);

(4)
for any initial values \(x_{0}, y_{0} \in P_{h}\), constructing successively sequences \(x_{n}= A(x_{n1}, y_{n1})+Bx_{n1}\), \(y_{n}=A(y_{n1}, x_{n1})+By_{n1}\), \(n=1, 2, \ldots\) , we have \(x_{n}\rightarrow x^{*}\) and \(y_{n}\rightarrow x^{*}\) as \(n\rightarrow \infty\).
Lemma 2.9
([28])
Let \(h>\theta\) and \(\alpha\in(0, 1)\). \(A: P\times P\rightarrow P\) is a mixed monotone operator and satisfies
\(B: P\rightarrow P\) is an increasing αconcave operator. Assume that

(i)
there is a \(h_{0}\in P_{h}\) such that \(A(h_{0}, h_{0})\in P_{h}\) and \(Bh_{0}\in P_{h}\);

(ii)
there exists a constant \(\delta_{0}>0\) such that \(A(x, y)\leq \delta_{0}Bx\), \(\forall x, y\in P\).
Then

(1)
\(A: P_{h}\times P_{h}\rightarrow P_{h}\) and \(B: P_{h}\rightarrow P_{h}\);

(2)
there exist \(u_{0}, v_{0}\in P_{h}\) and \(\gamma\in(0, 1)\) such that \(\gamma v_{0}\leq u_{0}< v_{0}\), \(u_{0}\leq A(u_{0}, v_{0})+ Bu_{0}\leq A(v_{0}, u_{0})+Bv_{0}\leq v_{0}\);

(3)
the operator equation \(A(x, x)+Bx=x\) has a unique solution \(x^{*}\) in \(P_{h}\);

(4)
for any initial values \(x_{0}, y_{0} \in P_{h}\), constructing successively the sequences \(x_{n}= A(x_{n1}, y_{n1})+Bx_{n1}\), \(y_{n}=A(y_{n1}, x_{n1})+By_{n1}\), \(n=1, 2, \ldots\) , we have \(x_{n}\rightarrow x^{*}\) and \(y_{n}\rightarrow x^{*}\) as \(n\rightarrow \infty\).
Lemma 2.10
([28])
Let \(\alpha\in(0, 1)\) and \(A: P\times P\rightarrow P\) be a mixed monotone operator. Assume that (12) holds and there is \(h_{0}> \theta\) such that \(A(h_{0}, h_{0})\in P_{h}\).
Then

(1)
\(A: P_{h} \times P_{h}\rightarrow P_{h}\);

(2)
there exist \(u_{0}, v_{0} \in P_{h}\) and \(r\in(0, 1)\) such that \(rv_{0}\leq u_{0}\leq v_{0}\), \(u_{0}\leq A(u_{0}, v_{0})\leq A(v_{0}, u_{0})\leq v_{0}\);

(3)
the operator equation \(A(x, x)=x\) has a unique solution \(x^{*}\) in \(P_{h}\);

(4)
for any initial values \(x_{0}, y_{0} \in P_{h}\), constructing successively the sequences \(x_{n}= A(x_{n1}, y_{n1})\), \(y_{n}=A(y_{n1}, x_{n1})\), \(n=1, 2, \ldots\) , we have \(x_{n}\rightarrow x^{*}\) and \(y_{n}\rightarrow x^{*}\) as \(n\rightarrow\infty\).
3 Main results
In this section, we establish the existence and uniqueness of positive solutions results for the problems (1) and (2), respectively.
First, we give the existence and uniqueness of positive solutions to the problem (1).
Theorem 3.1
Assume that
 (H_{1}):

\(f(t, x, y): [0, 1]\times[0, +\infty)\times[0, +\infty )\rightarrow[0, +\infty)\) is continuous and increasing in \(x\in[0, +\infty)\) for fixed \(t\in[0, 1]\) and \(y\in[0, +\infty)\) decreasing in \(y\in[0, +\infty)\) for fixed \(t\in[0, 1]\) and \(x\in[0, +\infty)\);
 (H_{2}):

\(g(t, x): [0, 1]\times[0, +\infty)\rightarrow[0, +\infty)\) is continuous and increasing in \(x\in[0, +\infty)\) for fixed \(t\in[0, 1]\), \(g(t, 0) \not\equiv0\);
 (H_{3}):

there exists a constant \(\delta_{0}>0\) such that \(f(t, x, y)\geq \delta_{0}g(t, x)\), \(t\in[0, 1]\), \(x, y\geq0\);
 (H_{4}):

\(g(t, \lambda x)\geq\lambda g(t, x)\) for \(\lambda\in(0, 1)\), \(t\in[0, 1]\), \(u\in[0, +\infty)\) and there exists a constant \(\xi\in (0, 1) \) such that \(f(t, \lambda x, \lambda^{1}y)\geq\lambda^{\xi }f(t, x, y)\), \(\forall t\in[0, 1]\), \(x, y\in[0, +\infty)\).
Then
(1) there exist \(x_{0}, y_{0}\in P_{h}\) and \(\gamma\in(0, 1)\) such that \(\gamma y_{0}\leq x_{0}< y_{0}\) and
where \(h(t)=t^{\alpha1}(1t)\), \(t\in[0, 1]\);
(2) the BVP (1) has a unique positive solution \(x^{*}\) in \(P_{h}\). For any \(x_{0}, y_{0}\in P_{h}\), constructing successively the sequences
we have \(\x_{n}x^{*}\\rightarrow0\) and \(\y_{n}x^{*}\\rightarrow0\) as \(n\rightarrow\infty\).
Proof
Firstly, according to Lemma 2.4, the BVP (1) is equivalent to the integral formulation given by
Let \(A_{1}: P\times P\rightarrow E\) be the operator defined by
and \(B_{1}: P\rightarrow E\) be the operator defined by
It is simple to show that x is the solution of the BVP (1) if and only if x solves the operator equation \(x=A_{1}(x, x)+ B_{1}x\). From (H_{1}) and (H_{2}) we know that \(A_{1}: P\times P\rightarrow P\) and \(B_{1}: P\rightarrow P\).
Secondly, we show that \(A_{1}\) and \(B_{1}\) satisfy all the assumptions of Lemma 2.8. To begin with, we prove that \(A_{1}\) is a mixed monotones operator. In fact, for \(x_{i}, y_{i}\in P\), \(i= 1, 2\) with \(x_{1}\geq x_{2}\), \(y_{1}\leq y_{2}\), we know that \(x_{1}(t)\geq x_{2}(t)\) and \(y_{1}(t)\leq y_{2}(t)\) for all \(t\in[0, 1]\). From (H_{1}) and Lemma 2.3 we know that \(A_{1}(x_{1}, y_{1})(t)=\int_{0}^{1}G(t, s)f(s, x_{1}(s), y_{1}(s))\,ds\geq\int_{0}^{1}G(t, s)f(s, x_{2}(s), y_{2}(s))\,ds=A_{1}(x_{2}, y_{2})(t)\). That is, \(A_{1}(x_{1}, y_{1})\geq A_{1}(x_{2}, y_{2})\). Furthermore, it follows from (H_{2}) and Lemma 2.3 that \(B_{1}\) is increasing. Next we prove that \(A_{1}\) satisfies (12). For any \(\lambda\in(0, 1)\) and \(x, y \in P\), together with (H_{4}), we have
That is, \(A_{1}(\lambda x, \lambda^{1}y)\geq\lambda^{\xi}A_{1}(x, y)\) for \(\lambda\in(0, 1)\), \(x, y\in P\). Hence the operator \(A_{1}\) satisfies (12). Also, for any \(\lambda\in(0, 1)\), \(x\in P\), using (H_{4}) we have
Thus, \(B_{1}(\lambda x)\geq\lambda B_{1}(x)\) for any \(\lambda\in(0, 1)\), \(x\in P\). Hence the operator \(B_{1}\) is subhomogeneous. Now we prove that \(A_{1}(h, h)\in P_{h}\) and \(B_{1}h\in P_{h}\). We only need to verify the following conclusions:

(a)
\(\exists a_{1}>0\) and \(a_{2}>0\), such that, for all \(t\in[0, 1]\), \(a_{2}h(t)\leq A_{1}(h, h)(t)\leq a_{1}h(t)\);

(b)
\(\exists b_{1}>0\) and \(b_{2}>0\), such that, for all \(t\in[0, 1]\), \(b_{2}h(t)\leq B_{1}h(t)\leq b_{1}h(t)\).
Let
It follows from (H_{1}), (H_{2}), and Lemma 2.3 that, for any \(t\in[0, 1]\),
and
According to (H_{1}), (H_{2}), and (H_{3}), we get
Since \(g(t, 0) \not\equiv0\), we obtain
and, in consequence, \(a_{1}>0\) and \(a_{2}>0\). Thus, \(a_{2}h(t)\leq A_{1}(h, h)(t)\leq a_{1}h(t)\), \(t\in[0, 1]\), and hence we get (a). In the same way, we get
From \(g(t, 0) \not\equiv0\) we have \(b_{1}>0\) and \(b_{2}>0\). Therefore, \(b_{2}h(t)\leq B_{1}h(t)\leq b_{1}h(t)\), \(t\in[0, 1]\). Thus, (b) is satisfied. Hence the condition (i) of Lemma 2.8 is proved. For \(x, y\in P\), and for any \(t\in[0, 1]\), from (H_{3}) we have
that is, \(A_{1}(x, y)\geq\delta_{0}B_{1}x\), \(\forall x, y\in P\). It follows from the above inequality that the condition (ii) of Lemma 2.8 is satisfied. Applying Lemma 2.8, we can get the conclusion of Theorem 3.1. □
Combining the proof of Theorem 3.1 with Lemma 2.10, we can prove the following conclusion.
Corollary 3.1
Assume that
 \((\mathrm{H}_{1})'\) :

\(f(t, x, y): [0, 1]\times[0, +\infty)\times[0, +\infty )\rightarrow[0, +\infty)\) is continuous and increasing in \(x\in[0, +\infty)\) for fixed \(t\in[0, 1]\) and \(y\in [0, +\infty)\) decreasing in \(y\in[0, +\infty)\) for fixed \(t\in[0, 1]\) and \(x\in[0, +\infty)\), \(f(t, 0, 1) \not\equiv0\);
 \((\mathrm{H}_{2})'\) :

there exists a constant \(\xi\in(0, 1)\) such that \(f(t, \lambda x, \lambda^{1}y)\geq\lambda^{\xi}f(t, x, y)\), \(t\in[0, 1]\), \(\lambda\in(0, 1)\), \(x, y\in[0, +\infty)\).
Then
(1) there exist \(x_{0}, y_{0}\in P_{h}\) and \(\gamma\in(0, 1)\) such that \(\gamma y_{0}\leq x_{0}< y_{0}\) and
where \(h(t)=t^{\alpha1}(1t)\), \(t\in[0, 1]\);
(2) the problem
has a unique positive solution \(x^{*}\) in \(P_{h}\) and for any \(x_{0}, y_{0}\in P_{h}\), constructing successively the sequences
we have \(\x_{n}x^{*}\\rightarrow0\) and \(\y_{n}x^{*}\\rightarrow0\) as \(n\rightarrow\infty\).
By using Lemma 2.9 we can also prove the following theorem.
Theorem 3.2
Assume that (H_{1}), (H_{2}), and
 (H_{5}):

there exists a constant \(\delta_{0}>0\) such that \(f(t, x, y)\leq \delta_{0}g(t, x)\), \(t\in[0, 1]\), \(x, y\geq0\);
 (H_{6}):

there exists a constant \(\xi\in(0, 1)\) such that \(g(t, \lambda x)\geq\lambda^{\xi}g(t, x)\) for \(\lambda\in(0, 1)\), \(t\in[0, 1]\), \(x\in[0, +\infty)\), and \(f(t, \lambda x, \lambda^{1}y)\geq\lambda f(t, x, y)\), \(\forall t\in[0, 1]\), \(\lambda\in(0,1)\), \(x, y\in[0, +\infty)\).
Then
(1) there exist \(x_{0}, y_{0}\in P_{h}\) and \(\gamma\in(0, 1)\) such that \(\gamma y_{0}\leq x_{0}< y_{0}\) and
where \(h(t)=t^{\alpha1}(1t)\), \(t\in[0, 1]\);
(2) the BVP (1) has a unique positive solution \(x^{*}\) in \(P_{h}\) and for any \(x_{0}, y_{0}\in P_{h}\), constructing successively the sequences
we have \(\x_{n}x^{*}\\rightarrow0\) and \(\y_{n}x^{*}\\rightarrow0\) as \(n\rightarrow\infty\).
Proof
The proof is similar to that given for Theorem 3.1. We omit it. □
Next, we present the existence and uniqueness of a positive solution to the problem (2).
Theorem 3.3
Assume that (H_{1})(H_{4}) hold. Then
(1) there exist \(x_{0}, y_{0}\in P_{h}\) and \(\gamma\in(0, 1)\) such that \(\gamma y_{0}\leq x_{0}< y_{0}\) and
where \(h(t)=t^{\alpha1}\), \(t\in[0, 1]\);
(2) the BVP (2) has a unique positive solution \(x^{*}\) in \(P_{h}\) and for any \(x_{0}, y_{0}\in P_{h}\), constructing successively the sequences
we have \(\x_{n}x^{*}\\rightarrow0\) and \(\y_{n}x^{*}\\rightarrow0\) as \(n\rightarrow\infty\).
Proof
Firstly, according to Lemma 2.7, the BVP (2) is equivalent to the integral formulation given by
Let \(A_{2}: P\times P\rightarrow E\) be the operator defined by
and \(B_{2}: P\rightarrow E\) be the operator defined by
It is easy to prove that x is the solution of the BVP (2) if and only if x solves the operator equation \(x=A_{2}(x, x)+ B_{2}x\). Similar to the proof of Theorem 3.1, we can prove that \(A_{2}: P\times P\rightarrow P\) is a mixed monotone operator and satisfies \(A_{2}(tx, t^{1}y)\geq t^{\xi}A_{2}(x, y)\), \(B_{2}: P\rightarrow P\) is an increasing subhomogeneous operator from (H_{1}), (H_{2}), and Lemma 2.6. Secondly, we only need to prove that (i) and (ii) in Lemma 2.8. Next, we show that \(A_{2}(h, h)\in P_{h}\) and \(B_{2}h\in P_{h}\). We only need to verify the following conclusions:

(a)
\(\exists a'_{1}>0\) and \(a'_{2}>0\), such that, for all \(t\in[0, 1]\), \(a'_{2}h(t)\leq A_{2}(h, h)(t)\leq a'_{1}h(t)\);

(b)
\(\exists b'_{1}>0\) and \(b'_{2}>0\), such that, for all \(t\in[0, 1]\), \(b'_{2}h(t)\leq B_{2}h(t)\leq b'_{1}h(t)\).
Let
It follows from (H_{1}), (H_{2}), and Lemma 2.6 that
and
According to (H_{1}), (H_{2}), and (H_{3}), we have
Since \(g(t, 0) \not\equiv0\), we obtain
and, in consequence, \(a'_{1}>0\) and \(a'_{2}>0\). Therefore, \(a'_{2}h(t)\leq A_{2}(h, h)(t)\leq a'_{1}h(t)\), \(t\in[0, 1]\), and hence we get (a). In the same way, we get
and
From \(g(t, 0) \not\equiv0\), we have \(b'_{1}>0\) and \(b'_{2}>0\). Therefore, \(b'_{2}h(t)\leq B_{2}h(t)\leq b'_{1}h(t)\), \(t\in[0, 1]\), and (b) is satisfied. Hence the condition (i) of Lemma 2.8 is proved. Next, we show that the condition (ii) of Lemma 2.8 is satisfied. For \(x, y\in P\) and for any \(t\in[0, 1]\), according to (H_{3}), we have
Then we get \(A_{2}(x, y)\geq\delta_{0}B_{2}x\), \(x, y \in P\). Thus, the conclusions of Theorem 3.3 follow from Lemma 2.8. □
From Lemma 2.9 we also prove the following theorem.
Theorem 3.4
Assume that (H_{1}), (H_{2}), (H_{5}), and (H_{6}) hold. Then
(1) there exist \(x_{0}, y_{0}\in P_{h}\) and \(\gamma\in(0, 1)\) such that \(\gamma y_{0}\leq x_{0}< y_{0}\) and
where \(h(t)=t^{\alpha1}\), \(t\in[0, 1]\);
(2) the BVP (2) has a unique positive solution \(x^{*}\) in \(P_{h}\) and for any \(x_{0}, y_{0}\in P_{h}\), constructing successively the sequences
we have \(\x_{n}x^{*}\\rightarrow0\) and \(\y_{n}x^{*}\\rightarrow0\) as \(n\rightarrow\infty\).
Proof
The proof is similar to that given for Theorem 3.3. We omit it. □
4 Example
In this section, we give two examples to illustrate our results.
Example 4.1
Consider the following boundary value problem:
In this case, \(\alpha=\frac{5}{3}\). Problem (14) can be regarded as a boundary value problem of the form (1) with \(f(t, x, y)=x^{\frac{1}{3}}+y^{\frac{1}{3}}+t^{2}+\frac{\pi}{2}\) and \(g(t, x)=\arctan x+t^{3}\). Now we verify that conditions (H_{1})(H_{4}) are satisfied.
Firstly, it is easy to see (H_{1}) and (H_{2}) are satisfied and \(g(t, 0)=t^{3}\not\equiv0\). Secondly, take \(\delta_{0}\in(0, 1]\), we obtain
Thus, (H_{3}) is satisfied. Moreover, for any \(\lambda\in(0, 1)\), \(t\in[0, 1]\), \(x\in[0, \infty )\), \(y\in[0, \infty)\), we get \(\arctan(\lambda x)\geq\lambda\arctan x\). Therefore
where \(\gamma=\frac{1}{3}\). We conclude that condition (H_{4}) is satisfied. Therefore, Theorem 3.1 ensures that the BVP (14) has a unique positive solution in \(P_{h}\) with \(h(t)=t^{\frac{1}{3}}(1t)\).
Example 4.2
Consider the following boundary value problem:
In this case, \(\alpha=\frac{3}{2}\). Problem (15) can be regard as a boundary value problem of form (2) with \(f(t, x, y)=x^{\frac{1}{2}}+y^{\frac{1}{2}}+t^{2}\) and \(g(t, x)=x^{\frac{1}{2}}+t^{3}\). Now we verify that conditions (H_{1})(H_{4}) are satisfied.
Firstly, it is easy to see (H_{1}) and (H_{2}) are satisfied and \(g(t, 0)=t^{3}\not\equiv0\). Secondly, take \(\delta_{0}\in(0, 1]\), we obtain
Thus, (H_{3}) is satisfied. Moreover, for any \(\lambda\in(0, 1)\), \(t\in[0, 1]\), \(x\in[0, \infty )\), \(y\in[0, \infty)\), we have
where \(\gamma=\frac{1}{2}\). We conclude that condition (H_{4}) is satisfied. Therefore, Theorem 3.3 ensures that the BVP (15) has a unique positive solution in \(P_{h}\) with \(h(t)=t^{\frac{1}{2}}\).
References
Elsaid, A: Fractional differential transform method combined with the Adomian polynomials. Appl. Math. Comput. 218(12), 68896911 (2012)
Krasnosel’skii, MA: Positive Solutions of Operator Equations. Noordhoff, Groningen (1964)
Lakshmikantham, V, Vatsala, AS: General uniqueness and monotone iterative technique for fractional differential equations. Appl. Math. Lett. 21(8), 828834 (2008)
Zhang, KM, Sun, JX: The relation between signchanging solution and positivenegative solutions for nonlinear operator equations and its applications. Acta Math. Sci. 24(3), 463468 (2004)
Zhang, KM: Nontrivial solutions of forthorder singular boundary value problems with signchanging nonlinear terms. Topol. Methods Nonlinear Anal. 40(1), 5370 (2012)
Sun, XB, Su, J, Han, MA: On the number of zeros Abelian integral for some Lienard systems of type \((4, 3)\). Chaos Solitons Fractals 51, 112 (2013)
Rudin, W: Functional Analysis, 2nd edn. International Series in Pure and Applied Mathematics. McGrawHill, New York (1991)
Wei, ZL: Positive solution of singular Dirichlet boundary value problems for second order differential equation system. J. Math. Anal. Appl. 328(2), 12551267 (2007)
Zhang, XG, Liu, LS, Wu, YH: Positive solutions of nonresonance semipositone singular Dirichlet boundary value problems. Nonlinear Anal. TMA 68(1), 97108 (2008)
Zhang, XG, Liu, LS, Wu, YH: The uniqueness of positive solutions for a fractional order model of turbulent flow in a porous medium. Appl. Math. Lett. 37, 2633 (2014)
Lu, HX, Sun, L, Sun, JX: Existence of positive solutions to a nonpositive elastic beam equation with both ends fixed. Bound. Value Probl. (2012). doi:10.1186/1687277029256
Zhang, XQ, Sun, JX: On multiple signchanging solutions for some secondorder integral boundary value problems. Electron. J. Qual. Theory Differ. Equ. 2010, 44 (2010)
Liu, YS: Positive solutions of boundary value problems for nonlinear singular differential equations in Banach spaces. Acta Math. Sin. 47(1), 131140 (2004)
Lin, XL, Zhao, ZQ: Signchanging solution for a thirdorder boundary value problem in ordered Banach space with lattice structure. Bound. Value Probl. 2014, 132 (2014). doi:10.1186/168727702014132
Lin, XL, Zhao, ZQ: Existence and uniqueness of symmetric positive solutions of 2norder nonlinear singular boundary value problems. Appl. Math. Lett. 26(7), 692698 (2013)
Liu, RK, Ma, RY: Existence of positive solutions for an elastic beam equation with nonlinear boundary conditions. J. Appl. Math. 2014, 972135 (2014)
Dai, GW, Ma, RY: Bifurcation from intervals for SturmLiouville problems and its applications. Electron. J. Differ. Equ. 2014, 3 (2014)
Cheng, ZB: Existence of positive periodic solutions for thirdorder differential equations with strong singularity. Adv. Differ. Equ. (2014). doi:10.1186/168718472014162
Cheng, ZB, Ren, JL: Some results for highorder generalized neutral differential equations. Adv. Differ. Equ. (2013). doi:10.11.186/168718472013202
Zhao, XK, Ge, WG: Unbounded solutions for a fractional boundary value problem on the infinite interval. Acta Appl. Math. 109, 495505 (2010)
Zhang, ZT: Existence of solutions for second order impulsive differential equations. Appl. Math. 12, 307320 (1997)
Jiang, DQ, Yuan, CJ: The positive properties of the Green function for Dirichlettype boundary value problems of nonlinear fractional differential equations and its application. Nonlinear Anal. TMA 72(2), 710719 (2010)
Bai, ZB, Lü, HS: Positive solutions for boundary value problem of nonlinear fractional differential equation. J. Math. Anal. Appl. 311(2), 495505 (2005)
Kosmatov, N: A singular boundary value problem for nonlinear differential equations of fractional order. J. Appl. Math. Comput. (2008). doi:10.007/s121900080104X
Xu, XJ, Jiang, DQ, Hu, WM, O’Regan, D, Agarwal, PR: Positive properties of Green’s function for threepoint boundary value problems of nonlinear fractional differential equations and its applications. Appl. Anal. 91(2), 323343 (2012)
Li, CF, Luo, XN, Zhou, Y: Existence of positive solutions of the boundary value problem for nonlinear fractional differential equations. Comput. Math. Appl. 59, 13631375 (2010)
Samko, SG, Kilbas, AA, Marichev, OI: Fractional Integrals and Derivatives: Theory and Applications. Gordon & Breach, Basel (1993)
Zhai, CB, Hoo, M: Fixed point theorem for mixed monotone operators with perturbation and applications to fractional differential equation boundary value problems. Nonlinear Anal. TMA 75, 25422551 (2012)
Zhai, CB, Yan, WP, Yang, C: A sum operator method for the existence and uniqueness of positive solution to RiemannLiouville fractional differential equation boundary value problems. Commun. Nonlinear Sci. Numer. Simul. 18, 858866 (2013)
Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank the referees for their valuable suggestions and comments.
Author information
Authors and Affiliations
Corresponding author
Additional information
Competing interests
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Authors’ contributions
All authors typed, read, and approved the final manuscript.
Rights and permissions
Open Access This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited.
About this article
Cite this article
Tan, J., Cheng, C. Fractional boundary value problems with RiemannLiouville fractional derivatives. Adv Differ Equ 2015, 80 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1186/s136620150413y
Received:
Accepted:
Published:
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s136620150413y
Keywords
 fractional differential equation
 boundary value problem
 fixed point theorem
 mixed monotone operators