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In the previous lecture, we showed that every \kappa-solution generated at least one asymptotic gradient shrinking soliton t \mapsto (M,g(t)). This soliton is known to have the following properties:

  1. It is ancient: t ranges over (-\infty,0).
  2. It is a Ricci flow.
  3. M is complete and connected.
  4. The Riemann curvature is non-negative (though it could theoretically be unbounded).
  5. \frac{dR}{dt} is non-negative.
  6. M is \kappa-noncollapsed.
  7. M is not flat.
  8. It obeys the gradient shrinking soliton equation

\hbox{Ric} + \hbox{Hess}(f) = \frac{1}{2\tau} g (1)

for some smooth f.

The main result of this lecture is to classify all such solutions in low dimension:

Theorem 1. (Classification of asymptotic gradient shrinking solitons) Let t \mapsto (M,g(t)) be as above, and suppose that the dimension d is at most 3. Then one of the following is true (up to isometry and rescaling):

  1. d=2,3 and M is a round shrinking spherical space form (i.e. a round shrinking S^2, S^3, \Bbb{RP}^2, or S^3/\Gamma for some finite group \Gamma acting freely on S^3).
  2. d=3 and M is the round shrinking cylinder S^2 \times {\Bbb R} or the oriented or unoriented quotient of this cylinder by an involution.

The case d=2 of this theorem is due to Hamilton; the compact d=3 case is due to Ivey; and the full d=3 case was sketched out by Perelman. In higher dimension, partial results towards the full classification (and also relaxing many of the hypotheses 1-8) have been established by Petersen-Wylie, by Ni-Wallach, and by Naber; these papers also give alternate proofs of Perelman’s classification.

To prove this theorem, we induct on dimension. In 1 dimension, all manifolds are flat and so the claim is trivial. We will thus take d=2 or d=3, and assume that the result has already been established for dimension d-1. We will then split into several cases:

  1. Case 1: Ricci curvature has a zero eigenvector at some point. In this case we can use Hamilton’s splitting theorem to reduce the dimension by one, at which point we can use the induction hypothesis.
  2. Case 2: Manifold noncompact, and Ricci curvature is positive and unbounded. In this case we can take a further geometric limit (using some Toponogov theory on the asymptotics of rays in a positively curved manifold) which is a round cylinder (or quotient thereof), and also a gradient steady soliton. One can easily rule out such an object by studying the potential function of that soliton on a closed loop.
  3. Case 3: Manifold noncompact, and Ricci curvature is positive and bounded. Here we shall follow the gradient curves of f using some identities arising from the gradient shrinking soliton equation to get a contradiction.
  4. Case 4: Manifold compact, and curvature positive. Here we shall use Hamilton’s rounding theorem to show that one is a round shrinking sphere or spherical space form.

We will follow Morgan-Tian‘s treatment of Perelman’s argument; see also the notes of Kleiner-Lott, the paper of Cao-Zhu, and the book of Chow-Lu-Ni for other treatments of this argument.

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