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Alexander and Thurston norms, and the Bieri-Neumann-Strebel invariants for free-by-cyclic groups

  • Funke, Florian
  • Kielak, Dawid
Publication Date
May 29, 2016
Submission Date
May 29, 2016
arXiv ID: 1605.09067
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We investigate Friedl-L\"uck's universal $L^2$-torsion for descending HNN extensions of finitely generated free groups, and so in particular for $F_n$-by-$\mathbb{Z}$ groups. This invariant induces a semi-norm on the first cohomology of the group which is an analogue of the Thurston norm for $3$-manifold groups. For descending HNN extensions of $F_2$, we prove that this Thurston semi-norm is an upper bound for the Alexander semi-norm defined by McMullen, as well as for the higher Alexander semi-norms defined by Harvey. The same inequalities are known to hold for $3$-manifold groups. We also prove that the Newton polytopes of the universal $L^2$-torsion of a descending HNN extension of $F_2$ locally determine the Bieri-Neumann-Strebel invariant of the group. We give an explicit means of computing the BNS invariant for such groups. When the HNN extension is taken over $F_n$ along a polynomially growing automorphism with unipotent image in $GL(n, \mathbb{Z})$, we show that the Newton polytope of the universal $L^2$-torsion and the BNS invariant completely determine one another.

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