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We study Schrödinger operators with a one-frequency analytic potential, focusing on the transition between the two distinct local regimes characteristic respectively of large and small potentials. From the dynamical point of view, the transition signals the emergence of non-uniform hyperbolicity, so the dependence of the Lyapunov exponent with respect to parameters plays a central role in the analysis. Though often ill-behaved by conventional measures, we show that the Lyapunov exponent is in fact remarkably regular in a “stratified sense” which we define: the irregularity comes from the matching of nice (analytic or smooth) functions along sets with complicated geometry. This result allows us to establish that the “critical set” for the transition lies within countably many codimension one subvarieties of the (infinite-dimensional) parameter space. A more refined renormalization-based analysis shows that the critical set is rather thin within those subvarieties, and allows us to conclude that a typical potential has no critical energies. Such acritical potentials also form an open set and have several interesting properties: only finitely many “phase transitions” may happen, but never at any specific point in the spectrum, and the Lyapunov exponent is minorated in the region of the spectrum where it is positive. On the other hand, we do show that the number of phase transitions can be arbitrarily large.
Key to our approach are two results about the dependence of the Lyapunov exponent of one-frequency SL cocycles with respect to perturbations in the imaginary direction: on one hand there is a severe “quantization” restriction, and on the other hand “regularity” of the dependence characterizes uniform hyperbolicity when the Lyapunov exponent is positive. Our method is independent of arithmetic conditions on the frequency.
We show that Thurston’s skinning maps of Teichmüller space have finite fibers. The proof centers around a study of two subvarieties of the character variety of a surface—one associated with complex projective structures, and the other associated with a 3-manifold. Using the Morgan–Shalen compactification of the character variety and author’s results on holonomy limits of complex projective structures, we show that these subvarieties have only a discrete set of intersections.
Along the way, we introduce a natural stratified Kähler metric on the space of holomorphic quadratic differentials on a Riemann surface and show that it is symplectomorphic to the space of measured foliations. Mirzakhani has used this symplectomorphism to show that the Hubbard–Masur function is constant; we include a proof of this result. We also generalize Floyd’s theorem on the space of boundary curves of incompressible, boundary-incompressible surfaces to a statement about extending group actions on -trees.
We study mixing properties of commutative groups of automorphisms acting on compact nilmanifolds. Assuming that every non-trivial element acts ergodically, we prove that such actions are mixing of all orders. We further show exponential 2-mixing and 3-mixing. As an application we prove smooth cocycle rigidity for higher-rank abelian groups of nilmanifold automorphisms.
Let M be a compact complex manifold. The corresponding Teichmüller space Teich is the space of all complex structures on M up to the action of the group of isotopies. The mapping class group acts on Teich in a natural way. An ergodic complex structure is a complex structure with a -orbit dense in Teich. Let M be a complex torus of complex dimension or a hyperkähler manifold with . We prove that M is ergodic, unless M has maximal Picard rank (there are countably many such M). This is used to show that all hyperkähler manifolds are Kobayashi non-hyperbolic.