Finite Type Invariants of w-Knotted Objects I: w-Knots and the Alexander Polynomial




Bar-Natan, Dror
Dancso, Zsuzsanna

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Mathematical Sciences Publishers


This is the first in a series of papers studying w-knots, and more generally, w-knotted objects (w-braids, w-tangles, etc). These are classes of knotted objects which are wider, but weaker than their "usual" counterparts. The group of w-braids was studied (under the name "welded braids") by Fenn, Rimanyi and Rourke and was shown to be isomorphic to the McCool group of "basis- conjugating" automorphisms of a free group Fn: the smallest subgroup of Aut. (Fn) that contains both braids and permutations. Brendle and Hatcher, in work that traces back to Goldsmith, have shown this group to be a group of movies of flying rings in R³. Satoh studied several classes of w-knotted objects (under the name "weakly-virtual") and has shown them to be closely related to certain classes of knotted surfaces in R⁴. So w-knotted objects are algebraically and topologically interesting. Here we study finite-type invariants of w-braids and w-knots. Following Berceanu and Papadima, we construct homomorphic universal finite-type invariants of w-braids. The universal finite-type invariant of w-knots is essentially the Alexander polynomial. Much as the spaces A of chord diagrams for ordinary knotted objects are related to metrized Lie algebras, the spaces Aw of "arrow diagrams" for w-knotted objects are related to not-necessarily-metrized Lie algebras. Many questions concerning w-knotted objects turn out to be equivalent to questions about Lie algebras. Later in this paper series we re-interpret the work of Alekseev and Torossian on Drinfel’d associators and the Kashiwara-Vergne problem as a study of w-knotted trivalent graphs.





Algebraic and Geometric Topology


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