Open Access
November 2012 Small-time heat kernel asymptotics at the sub-Riemannian cut locus
Davide Barilari, Ugo Boscain, Robert W. Neel
J. Differential Geom. 92(3): 373-416 (November 2012). DOI: 10.4310/jdg/1354110195


For a sub-Riemannian manifold provided with a smooth volume, we relate the small-time asymptotics of the heat kernel at a point y of the cut locus from $x$ with roughly "how much" $y$ is conjugate to $x$. This is done under the hypothesis that all minimizers connecting $x$ to $y$ are strongly normal, i.e. all pieces of the trajectory are not abnormal. Our result is a refinement of the one of Leandre $4t \log p_t(x, y) \to −d^2(x, y)$ for $t \to 0$, in which only the leading exponential term is detected. Our results are obtained by extending an idea of Molchanov from the Riemannian to the sub-Riemannian case, and some details we get appear to be new even in the Riemannian context. These results permit us to obtain properties of the sub-Riemannian distance starting from those of the heat kernel and vice versa. For the Grushin plane endowed with the Euclidean volume, we get the expansion $p_t(x, y) \sim t^{−5/4} \exp(−d^2(x, y)/4t)$ where $y$ is reached from a Riemannian point $x$ by a minimizing geodesic which is conjugate at $y$.


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Davide Barilari. Ugo Boscain. Robert W. Neel. "Small-time heat kernel asymptotics at the sub-Riemannian cut locus." J. Differential Geom. 92 (3) 373 - 416, November 2012.


Published: November 2012
First available in Project Euclid: 28 November 2012

zbMATH: 1270.53066
MathSciNet: MR3005058
Digital Object Identifier: 10.4310/jdg/1354110195

Rights: Copyright © 2012 Lehigh University

Vol.92 • No. 3 • November 2012
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