## 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 define a functional \({\cal J}(h)\) for the space of Hermitian metrics on an arbitrary Higgs bundle over a compact Kähler manifold, as a natural generalization of the mean curvature energy functional of Kobayashi for holomorphic vector bundles, and study some of its basic properties. We show that \({\cal J}(h)\) is bounded from below by a nonnegative constant depending on invariants of the Higgs bundle and the Kähler manifold, and that when achieved, its absolute minima are Hermite-Yang-Mills metrics. We derive a formula relating \({\cal J}(h)\) and another functional \({\cal I}(h)\), closely related to the Yang-Mills-Higgs functional, which can be thought of as an extension of a formula of Kobayashi for holomorphic vector bundles to the Higgs bundles setting. Finally, using 1-parameter families in the space of Hermitian metrics on a Higgs bundle, we compute the first variation of \({\cal J}(h)\), which is expressed as a certain \(L^{2}\)-Hermitian inner product. It follows that a Hermitian metric on a Higgs bundle is a critical point of \({\cal J}(h)\) if and only if the corresponding Hitchin-Simpson mean curvature is parallel with respect to the Hitchin-Simpson connection.

**Related project(s):****32**Asymptotic geometry of the Higgs bundle moduli space

For a smooth manifold \(M\), possibly with boundary and corners, and a Lie group \(G\), we consider a suitable description of gauge fields in terms of parallel transport, as groupoid homomorphisms from a certain path groupoid in \(M\) to \(G\). Using a cotriangulation \(\mathscr{C}\) of \(M\), and collections of finite-dimensional families of paths relative to \(\mathscr{C}\), we define a homotopical equivalence relation of parallel transport maps, leading to the concept of an extended lattice gauge (ELG) field. A lattice gauge field, as used in Lattice Gauge Theory, is part of the data contained in an ELG field, but the latter contains further local topological information sufficient to reconstruct a principal \(G\)-bundle on \(M\) up to equivalence. The space of ELG fields of a given pair \((M,\mathscr{C})\) is a covering for the space of fields in Lattice Gauge Theory, whose connected components parametrize equivalence classes of principal \(G\)-bundles on \(M\). We give a criterion to determine when ELG fields over different cotriangulations define equivalent bundles.

**Related project(s):****32**Asymptotic geometry of the Higgs bundle moduli space

We prove that a minimal disc in a CAT(0) space is a local embedding away from a finite set of "branch points". On the way we establish several basic properties of minimal surfaces: monotonicity of area densities, density bounds, limit theorems and the existence of tangent maps.

As an application, we prove Fary-Milnor's theorem in the CAT(0) setting.

**Related project(s):****24**Minimal surfaces in metric spaces

A surface which does not admit a length nonincreasing deformation is called metric minimizing. We show that metric minimizing surfaces in CAT(0) spaces are locally CAT(0) with respect to their intrinsic metric.

**Related project(s):****24**Minimal surfaces in metric spaces

We prove an analog of Schoen-Yau univalentness theorem for saddle maps between discs.

**Related project(s):****24**Minimal surfaces in metric spaces

In this paper we first introduce quermassintegrals for free boundary hypersurfaces in the (*n*+1)-dimensional Euclidean unit ball. Then we solve some related isoperimetric type problems for convex free boundary hypersurfaces, which lead to new Alexandrov-Fenchel inequalities. In particular, for *n*=2 we obtain a Minkowski-type inequality and for *n*=3 we obtain an optimal Willmore-type inequality. To prove these estimates, we employ a specifically designed locally constrained inverse harmonic mean curvature flow with free boundary.

**Related project(s):****22**Willmore functional and Lagrangian surfaces

In this paper, by providing the uniform gradient estimates for approximating equations, we prove the existence, uniqueness and regularity of conical parabolic complex Monge-Ampère equation with weak initial data. As an application, we obtain a regularity estimate, that is, any $L^{\infty}$-solution of the conical complex Monge-Ampère equation admits the $C^{2,\alpha,\beta}$-regularity.

Journal | Calculus of Variations and Partial Differential Equations |

Link to preprint version |

**Related project(s):****31**Solutions to Ricci flow whose scalar curvature is bounded in Lp.

We show that local deformations, near closed subsets, of solutions to open partial differential relations can be extended to global deformations, 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 convex embeddings of hypersurfaces, differential forms, and lapse functions in Lorentzian geometry.

The main application is a general approximation result by sections which have very restrictive local properties an open dense subsets. This shows, for instance, that given any *K*∈R every manifold of dimension at least two carries a complete *C^*1,1-metric which, on a dense open subset, is smooth with constant sectional curvature *K*. Of course this is impossible for *C^*2-metrics in general.

**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

Given two weighted graphs $(X,b_k,m_k)$, $k=1,2$ with $b_1\sim b_2$ and $m_1\sim m_2$, we prove a weighted $L^1$-criterion for the existence and completeness of the wave operators $W_{\pm}(H_{2},H_1, I_{1,2})$, where $H_k$ denotes the natural Laplacian in $\ell^2(X,m_k)$ w.r.t. $(X,b_k,m_k)$ and $I_{1,2}$ the trivial identification of $\ell^2(X,m_1)$ with $\ell^2(X,m_2)$. In particular, this entails a general criterion for the absolutely continuous spectra of $H_1$ and $H_2$ to be equal.

Journal | Math. Phys. Anal. Geom. |

Pages | 21-28 |

Link to preprint version |

**Related project(s):****19**Boundaries, Greens formulae and harmonic functions for graphs and Dirichlet spaces

The purpose of this article is to define and study new invariants of topological spaces: the *p*-adic Betti numbers and the *p*-adic torsion. These invariants take values in the *p*-adic numbers and are constructed from a virtual pro-*p* completion of the fundamental group. The key result of the article is an approximation theorem which shows that the *p*-adic invariants are limits of their classical analogues. This is reminiscent of Lück's approximation theorem for *L*2-Betti numbers.

After an investigation of basic properties and examples we discuss the *p*-adic analog of the Atiyah conjecture: When do the *p*-adic Betti numbers take integer values? We establish this property for a class of spaces and discuss applications to cohomology growth.

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

We define a Toledo number for actions of surface groups and complex hyperbolic lattices on infinite dimensional Hermitian symmetric spaces, which allows us to define maximal representations. When the target is not of tube type we show that there cannot be Zariski-dense maximal representations, and whenever the existence of a boundary map can be guaranteed, the representation preserves a finite dimensional totally geodesic subspace on which the action is maximal. In the opposite direction we construct examples of geometrically dense maximal representation in the infinite dimensional Hermitian symmetric space of tube type and finite rank. Our approach is based on the study of boundary maps, that we are able to construct in low ranks or under some suitable Zariski-density assumption, circumventing the lack of local compactness in the infinite dimensional setting.

**Related project(s):****28**Rigidity, deformations and limits of maximal representations

Manifolds all of whose geodesics are closed have been studied a lot, but there are only few examples known. The situation is different if one allows in addition for orbifold singularities. We show, nevertheless, that the abundance of new examples is restricted to even dimensions. As one key ingredient we provide a characterization of orientable manifolds among orientable orbifolds in terms of characteristic classes.

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

We prove that $\mathrm{Aut}(F_n)$ has Kazhdan's property (T) for every $n \geqslant 6$. Together with a previous result of Kaluba, Nowak, and Ozawa, this gives the same statement for $n\geqslant 5$.

We also provide explicit lower bounds for the Kazhdan constants of $\mathrm{SAut}(F_n)$ (with $n \geqslant 6$) and of $\mathrm{SL}_n(\mathbb Z)$ (with $n \geqslant 3$) with respect to natural generating sets.

In the latter case, these bounds improve upon previously known lower bounds whenever $n> 6$.

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

We show a Heinz-Kato inequality in Banach spaces for sectorial operators having bounded imaginary powers.

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

In this work, it is shown that a simply-connected, rationally-elliptic torus orbifold is equivariantly rationally homotopy equivalent to the quotient of a product of spheres by an almost-free, linear torus action, where this torus has rank equal to the number of odd-dimensional spherical factors in the product. As an application, simply-connected, rationally-elliptic manifolds admitting slice-maximal torus actions are classified up to equivariant rational homotopy. The case where the rational-ellipticity hypothesis is replaced by non-negative curvature is also discussed, and the Bott Conjecture in the presence of a slice-maximal torus action is proved.

Journal | Int. Math. Res. Not. IMRN |

Volume | 18 |

Pages | 5786--5822 |

Link to preprint version | |

Link to published version |

**Related project(s):****11**Topological and equivariant rigidity in the presence of lower curvature bounds**15**Spaces and Moduli Spaces of Riemannian Metrics with Curvature Bounds on compact and non-compact Manifolds

In this paper, we study smooth, semi-free actions on closed, smooth, simply connected manifolds, such that the orbit space is a smoothable manifold. We show that the only simply connected 5-manifolds admitting a smooth, semi-free circle action with fixed-point components of codimension 4 are connected sums of *\(S^3\)*-bundles over \(S^2\). Furthermore, the Betti numbers of the 5-manifolds and of the quotient 4-manifolds are related by a simple formula involving the number of fixed-point components. We also investigate semi-free \(S^3\) actions on simply connected 8-manifolds with quotient a 5-manifold and show, in particular, that the Pontrjagin classes, the \(\hat A\) -genus and the signature of the 8-manifold must all necessarily vanish.

**Related project(s):****11**Topological and equivariant rigidity in the presence of lower curvature bounds

We study the intrinsic structure of parametric minimal discs in metric spaces admitting a quadratic isoperimetric inequality. We associate to each minimal disc a compact, geodesic metric space whose geometric, topological, and analytic properties are controlled by the isoperimetric inequality. Its geometry can be used to control the shapes of all curves and therefore the geometry and topology of the original metric space. The class of spaces arising in this way as intrinsic minimal discs is a natural generalization of the class of Ahlfors regular discs, well-studied in analysis on metric spaces

Journal | Geom. Topol. |

Volume | 22 |

Pages | 591-644 |

Link to preprint version |

**Related project(s):****24**Minimal surfaces in metric spaces

We prove that a proper geodesic metric space has non-positive curvature in the sense of Alexandrov if and only if it satisfies the Euclidean isoperimetric inequality for curves. Our result extends to non-geodesic spaces and non-zero curvature bounds.

Journal | Acta Math. |

Volume | 221 |

Pages | 159-202 |

Link to preprint version | |

Link to published version |

**Related project(s):****24**Minimal surfaces in metric spaces

We show that the class of CAT(0) spaces is closed under suitable conformal changes. In particular, any CAT(0) space admits a large variety of non-trivial deformations.

Journal | Math. Ann. |

Volume | Online First |

Link to preprint version |

**Related project(s):****24**Minimal surfaces in metric spaces

We study geometric and topological properties of locally compact, geodesically complete spaces with an upper curvature bound. We control the size of singular subsets, discuss homotopical and measure-theoretic stratifications and regularity of the metric structure on a large part.

Journal | Geom. Funct. Anal. |

Volume | To appear |

Link to preprint version |

**Related project(s):****24**Minimal surfaces in metric spaces