We construct series of examples of exotic smooth structures on compact locally symmetric spaces of noncompact type. In particular, we obtain higher rank examples, which do not support Riemannian metric of nonpositive curvature. The examples are obtained by taking the connected sum with an exotic sphere. To detect the change of the smooth structure we use a tangential map from the locally symmetric space its dual compact type twin.
"Exotic smooth structures on nonpositively curved symmetric spaces." Algebr. Geom. Topol. 2 (1) 381 - 389, 2002. https://doi.org/10.2140/agt.2002.2.381