## Publications of SPP2026

On this site you find preprints and publications produced within the projects and with the support of the DFG priority programme „Geometry at Infinity“.

We extend the notion of Hitchin component from surface groups to orbifold groups and prove that this gives new examples of Higher Teichmüller spaces. We show that the Hitchin component of an orbifold group is homeomorphic to an open ball, and we compute its dimension explicitly. For example, the Hitchin component of the right-angled hyperbolic \(\ell\)-polygon reflection group into \(\mathrm{PGL}(2m,\mathbb{R})\), resp. \(\mathrm{PGL}(2m+1,\mathbb{R})\), is homeomorphic to an open ball of dimension \((\ell-4)m^2+1\), resp. \((\ell-4)(m^2+m)\). We also give applications to the study of the pressure metric and the deformation theory of real projective structures on 3-manifolds.

**Related project(s):****1**Hitchin components for orbifolds

Geometric structures on manifolds became popular when Thurston used them in his work on the Geometrization Conjecture. They were studied by many people and they play an important role in Higher Teichmüller Theory. Geometric structures on a manifold are closely related with representations of the fundamental group and with flat bundles. Higgs bundles can be very useful in describing flat bundles explicitly, via solutions of Hitchin's equations. Baraglia has shown in his Thesis that this technique can be used to construct geometric structures in interesting cases. Here we will survey some recent results in this direction, which are joint work with Qiongling Li.

**Related project(s):****1**Hitchin components for orbifolds

Let X be a compact manifold, D a real elliptic operator on X, G a Lie group, P a principal G-bundle on X, and B_P the infinite-dimensional moduli space of all connections on P modulo gauge, as a topological stack. For each connection \nabla_P, we can consider the twisted elliptic operator on X. This is a continuous family of elliptic operators over the base B_P, and so has an orientation bundle O^D_P over B_P, a principal Z_2-bundle parametrizing orientations of KerD^\nabla_Ad(P) + CokerD^\nabla_Ad(P) at each \nabla_P. An orientation on (B_P,D) is a trivialization of O^D_P.

In gauge theory one studies moduli spaces M of connections \nabla_P on P satisfying some curvature condition, such as anti-self-dual instantons on Riemannian 4-manifolds (X, g). Under good conditions M is a smooth manifold, and orientations on (B_P,D) pull back to

orientations on M in the usual sense of differential geometry.

This is important in areas such as Donaldson theory, where one needs an orientation on M

to define enumerative invariants.

We explain a package of techniques, some known and some new, for proving orientability and constructing canonical orientations on (B_P,D), after fixing some algebro-topological information on X. We use these to construct canonical orientations on gauge theory moduli spaces, including new results for moduli spaces of flat connections on 2- and 3-manifolds,

instantons, the Kapustin-Witten equations, and the Vafa-Witten equations on 4-manifolds, and the Haydys-Witten equations on 5-manifolds.

**Related project(s):****33**Gerbes in renormalization and quantization of infinite-dimensional moduli spaces

Suppose (X, g) is a compact, spin Riemannian 7-manifold, with Dirac operator D. Let G be SU(m) or U(m), and E be a rank m complex bundle with G-structure on X. Write B_E for the infinite-dimensional moduli space of connections on E, modulo gauge. There is a natural principal Z_2-bundle O^D_E on B_E parametrizing orientations of det D_Ad A for twisted elliptic operators D_Ad A at each [A] in B_E. A theorem of Walpuski shows O^D_E is trivializable.

We prove that if we choose an orientation for det D, and a flag structure on X in the sense of Joyce arXiv:1610.09836, then we can define canonical trivializations of O^D_E for all such bundles E on X, satisfying natural compatibilities.

Now let (X,\varphi,g) be a compact G_2-manifold, with d(*\varphi)=0. Then we can consider moduli spaces M_E^G_2 of G_2-instantons on E over X, which are smooth manifolds under suitable transversality conditions, and derived manifolds in general. The restriction of O^D_E to M_E^G_2 is the Z_2-bundle of orientations on M_E^G_2. Thus, our theorem induces canonical orientations on all such G_2-instanton moduli spaces M_E^G_2.

This contributes to the Donaldson-Segal programme arXiv:0902.3239, which proposes defining enumerative invariants of G_2-manifolds (X,\varphi,g) by counting moduli spaces M_E^G_2, with signs depending on a choice of orientation. This paper is a sequel to Joyce-Tanaka-Upmeier arXiv:1811.01096, which develops the general theory of orientations on gauge-theoretic moduli spaces, and gives applications in dimensions 3,4,5 and 6.

**Related project(s):****33**Gerbes in renormalization and quantization of infinite-dimensional moduli spaces

We show that the complex of free factors of a free group of rank n > 1 is homotopy equivalent to a wedge of spheres of dimension n-2. We also prove that for n > 1, the complement of (unreduced) Outer space in the free splitting complex is homotopy equivalent to the complex of free factor systems and moreover is (n-2)-connected. In addition, we show that for every non-trivial free factor system of a free group, the corresponding relative free splitting complex is contractible.

**Related project(s):****8**Parabolics and invariants

We show injectivity results for assembly maps using equivariant coarse homology theories with transfers. Our method is based on the descent principle and applies to a large class of linear groups or, more general, groups with finite decomposition complexity.

**Related project(s):****10**Duality and the coarse assembly map

We enlarge the category of bornological coarse spaces by adding transfer morphisms and introduce the notion of an equivariant coarse homology theory with transfers. We then show that equivariant coarse algebraic K-homology and equivariant coarse ordinary homology can be extended to equivariant coarse homology theories with transfers. In the case of a finite group we observe that equivariant coarse homology theories with transfers provide Mackey functors. We express standard constructions with Mackey functors in terms of coarse geometry, and we demonstrate the usage of transfers in order to prove injectivity results about assembly maps.

**Related project(s):****10**Duality and the coarse assembly map

We show that a finitely generated residually finite rationally solvable (or RFRS) group *G* is virtually fibred, in the sense that it admits a virtual surjection to $\mathbb Z$ with a finitely generated kernel, if and only if the first $L^2$-Betti number of *G* vanishes. This generalises (and gives a new proof of) the analogous result of Ian Agol for fundamental groups of 3-manifolds.

**Related project(s):****8**Parabolics and invariants

We develop the theory of agrarian invariants, which are algebraic counterparts to $L^2$-invariants. Specifically, we introduce the notions of agrarian Betti numbers, agrarian acyclicity, agrarian torsion and agrarian polytope.

We use the agrarian invariants to solve the torsion-free case of a conjecture of Friedl--Tillmann: we show that the marked polytopes they constructed for two-generator one-relator groups with nice presentations are independent of the presentations used. We also show that, for such groups, the agrarian polytope encodes the splitting complexity of the group. This generalises theorems of Friedl--Tillmann and Friedl--Lück--Tillmann. Finally, we prove that for agrarian groups of deficiency $1$, the agrarian polytope admits a marking of its vertices which controls the Bieri--Neumann--Strebel invariant of the group, improving a result of the second author and partially answering a question of Friedl--Tillmann.

**Related project(s):****8**Parabolics and invariants

We prove that if a quasi-isometry of warped cones is induced by a map between the base spaces of the cones, the actions must be conjugate by this map. The converse is false in general, conjugacy of actions is not sufficient for quasi-isometry of the respective warped cones. For a general quasi-isometry of warped cones, using the asymptotically faithful covering constructed in a previous work with Jianchao Wu, we deduce that the two groups are quasi-isometric after taking Cartesian products with suitable powers of the integers.

Secondly, we characterise geometric properties of a group (coarse embeddability into Banach spaces, asymptotic dimension, property A) by properties of the warped cone over an action of this group. These results apply to arbitrary asymptotically faithful coverings, in particular to box spaces. As an application, we calculate the asymptotic dimension of a warped cone and improve bounds by Szabo, Wu, and Zacharias and by Bartels on the amenability dimension of actions of virtually nilpotent groups.

In the appendix, we justify optimality of our result on general quasi-isometries by showing that quasi-isometric warped cones need not come from quasi-isometric groups, contrary to the case of box spaces.

Journal | Proc. Lond. Math. Soc. |

Publisher | Wiley |

Link to preprint version | |

Link to published version |

**Related project(s):****8**Parabolics and invariants

We show that local deformations of solutions to open partial differential relations near suitable subsets can be extended to global solutions, provided all but the highest derivatives stay constant along the subset. The applicability of this general result is illustrated by a number of examples, dealing with ordinary differential inequalities, convex embeddings of hypersurfaces, differential forms, and lapse functions in Lorentzian geometry. The main application concerns Riemannian metrics. We prove an approximation result which implies, for instance, that every compact surface carries a *C^{*1,1}-metric with Gauss curvature ≥1 a.e. on a dense open subset. For *C*^2-metrics this is, of course, impossible if the genus of the surface is positive.

**Related project(s):****5**Index theory on Lorentzian manifolds**15**Spaces and Moduli Spaces of Riemannian Metrics with Curvature Bounds on compact and non-compact Manifolds

We construct a Baum--Connes assembly map localised at the unit element of a discrete group $\Gamma$.

This morphism, called $\mu_\tau$, is defined in $KK$-theory with coefficients in $\mathbb{R}$ by means of the action of the projection $[\tau]\in KK_\mathbb{R}^\Gamma(\mathbb{C},\mathbb{C})$ canonically associated to the group trace of $\Gamma$.

We show that the corresponding $\tau$-Baum--Connes conjecture is weaker then the classical one but still implies the strong Novikov conjecture.

**Related project(s):****4**Secondary invariants for foliations

We consider the unnormalized Yamabe flow on manifolds with conical singularities. Under certain geometric assumption on the initial cross-section we show well posedness of the short time solution in the \(L^q\)-setting. Moreover, we give a picture of the deformation of the conical tips under the flow by providing an asymptotic expansion of the evolving metric close to the boundary in terms of the initial local geometry. Due to the blow up of the scalar curvature close to the singularities we use maximal \(L^q\)-regularity theory for conically degenerate operators.

**Related project(s):****30**Nonlinear evolution equations on singular manifolds

In this note we refine examples by Aka from arithmetic to S-arithmetic groups to show that the vanishing of the *i*-th ℓ²-Betti number is not a profinite invariant for all *i*≥2.

**Related project(s):****18**Analytic L2-invariants of non-positively curved spaces

Given an S-arithmetic group, we ask how much information on the ambient algebraic group, number field of definition, and set of places S is encoded in the commensurability class of the profinite completion. As a first step, we show that the profinite commensurability class of an S-arithmetic group with CSP determines the number field up to arithmetical equivalence and the places in S above unramified primes. We include some applications to profiniteness questions of group invariants.

**Related project(s):****18**Analytic L2-invariants of non-positively curved spaces

We review some recent results on geometric equations on Lorentzian manifolds such as the wave and Dirac equations. This includes well-posedness and stability for various initial value problems, as well as results on the structure of these equations on black-hole spacetimes (in particular, on the Kerr solution), the index theorem for hyperbolic Dirac operators and properties of the class of Green-hyperbolic operators.

Publisher | de Gruyter |

Book | J. Brüning, M. Staudacher (Eds.): Space - Time - Matter |

Pages | 324-348 |

Link to preprint version | |

Link to published version |

**Related project(s):****5**Index theory on Lorentzian manifolds

We show that a properly convex projective structure p on a closed oriented surface of negative Euler characteristic arises from a Weyl connection if and only if p is hyperbolic. We phrase the problem as a non-linear PDE for a Beltrami differential by using that p admits a compatible Weyl connection if and only if a certain holomorphic curve exists. Turning this non-linear PDE into a transport equation, we obtain our result by applying methods from geometric inverse problems. In particular, we use an extension of a remarkable L2-energy identity known as Pestov's identity to prove a vanishing theorem for the relevant transport equation.

**Related project(s):****26**Projective surfaces, Segre structures and the Hitchin component for PSL(n,R)

We study the Newton polytopes of determinants of square matrices defined over rings of twisted Laurent polynomials. We prove that such Newton polytopes are single polytopes (rather than formal differences of two polytopes); this result can be seen as analogous to the fact that determinants of matrices over commutative Laurent polynomial rings are themselves polynomials, rather than rational functions. We also exhibit a relationship between the Newton polytopes and invertibility of the matrices over Novikov rings, thus establishing a connection with the invariants of Bieri-Neumann-Strebel (BNS) via a theorem of Sikorav.

We offer several applications: we reprove Thurston's theorem on the existence of a polytope controlling the BNS invariants of a 3-manifold group; we extend this result to free-by-cyclic groups, and the more general descending HNN extensions of free groups. We also show that the BNS invariants of Poincare duality groups of type F in dimension 3 and groups of deficiency one are determined by a polytope, when the groups are assumed to be agrarian, that is their integral group rings embed in skew-fields. The latter result partially confirms a conjecture of Friedl.

We also deduce the vanishing of the Newton polytopes associated to elements of the Whitehead groups of many groups satisfying the Atiyah conjecture. We use this to show that the *L*2-torsion polytope of Friedl-Lueck is invariant under homotopy. We prove the vanishing of this polytope in the presence of amenability, thus proving a conjecture of Friedl-Lueck-Tillmann.

**Related project(s):****8**Parabolics and invariants

In this paper we establish stability of the Ricci de Turck flow near Ricci-flat metrics with isolated conical singularities. More precisely, we construct a Ricci de Turck flow which starts sufficiently close to a Ricci-flat metric with isolated conical singularities and converges to a singular Ricci-flat metric under an assumption of integrability, linear and tangential stability. We provide a characterization of conical singularities satisfying tangential stability and discuss examples where the integrability condition is satisfied.

Pages | 46 |

Link to preprint version |

**Related project(s):****21**Stability and instability of Einstein manifolds with prescribed asymptotic geometry**23**Spectral geometry, index theory and geometric flows on singular spaces

We show that in each dimension 4n+3, n>1, there exist infinite sequences of closed smooth simply connected manifolds M of pairwise distinct homotopy type for which the moduli space of Riemannian metrics with nonnegative sectional curvature has infinitely many path components. Closed manifolds with these properties were known before only in dimension 7, and our result also holds for moduli spaces of Riemannian metrics with positive Ricci curvature. Moreover, inconjunction with work of Belegradek, Kwasik and Schultz, we obtain that for each such M the moduli space of complete nonnegative sectional curvature metrics on the open simply connected manifold M × R also has infinitely many path components.

Journal | Bulletin of the London Math. Society |

Volume | 50 |

Pages | 96-107 |

Link to preprint version | |

Link to published version |

**Related project(s):****15**Spaces and Moduli Spaces of Riemannian Metrics with Curvature Bounds on compact and non-compact Manifolds