TY - JOUR

T1 - Divergence in lattices in semisimple lie groups and graphs of groups

AU - Drutu, Cornelia

AU - Mozes, Shahar

AU - Sapir, Mark

PY - 2010/5

Y1 - 2010/5

N2 - Divergence functions of a metric space estimate the length of a path connecting two points A, B at distance ≤ n avoiding a large enough ball around a third point C. We characterize groups with non-linear divergence functions as groups having cut-points in their asymptotic cones. That property is weaker than the property of having Morse (rank 1) quasi-geodesics. Using our characterization of Morse quasi-geodesics, we give a new proof of the theorem of Farb-Kaimanovich-Masur that states that mapping class groups cannot contain copies of irreducible lattices in semi-simple Lie groups of higher ranks. It also gives a generalization of the result of Birman-Lubotzky-McCarthy about solvable subgroups of mapping class groups not covered by the Tits alternative of Ivanov and McCarthy. We show that any group acting acylindrically on a simplicial tree or a locally compact hyperbolic graph always has "many" periodic Morse quasi- geodesics (i.e. Morse elements), so its divergence functions are never linear. We also show that the same result holds in many cases when the hyperbolic graph satisfies Bowditch's properties that are weaker than local compactness. This gives a new proof of Behrstock's result that every pseudo-Anosov element in a mapping class group is Morse. On the other hand, we conjecture that lattices in semi-simple Lie groups of higher rank always have linear divergence. We prove it in the case when the ℚ-rank is 1 and when the lattice is SLn(Os)where n ≥ 3, S is a finite set of valuations of a number field K including all infinite valuations, and O s is the corresponding ring of S-integers.

AB - Divergence functions of a metric space estimate the length of a path connecting two points A, B at distance ≤ n avoiding a large enough ball around a third point C. We characterize groups with non-linear divergence functions as groups having cut-points in their asymptotic cones. That property is weaker than the property of having Morse (rank 1) quasi-geodesics. Using our characterization of Morse quasi-geodesics, we give a new proof of the theorem of Farb-Kaimanovich-Masur that states that mapping class groups cannot contain copies of irreducible lattices in semi-simple Lie groups of higher ranks. It also gives a generalization of the result of Birman-Lubotzky-McCarthy about solvable subgroups of mapping class groups not covered by the Tits alternative of Ivanov and McCarthy. We show that any group acting acylindrically on a simplicial tree or a locally compact hyperbolic graph always has "many" periodic Morse quasi- geodesics (i.e. Morse elements), so its divergence functions are never linear. We also show that the same result holds in many cases when the hyperbolic graph satisfies Bowditch's properties that are weaker than local compactness. This gives a new proof of Behrstock's result that every pseudo-Anosov element in a mapping class group is Morse. On the other hand, we conjecture that lattices in semi-simple Lie groups of higher rank always have linear divergence. We prove it in the case when the ℚ-rank is 1 and when the lattice is SLn(Os)where n ≥ 3, S is a finite set of valuations of a number field K including all infinite valuations, and O s is the corresponding ring of S-integers.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=77950908079&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1090/S0002-9947-09-04882-X

DO - 10.1090/S0002-9947-09-04882-X

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:77950908079

SN - 0002-9947

VL - 362

SP - 2451

EP - 2505

JO - Transactions of the American Mathematical Society

JF - Transactions of the American Mathematical Society

IS - 5

ER -