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Lefschetz pencils and the symplectic topology

of complex surfaces
Denis AUROUX
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Symplectic 4-manifolds
A (compact) symplectic 4-manifold (M
4
, ) is a smooth 4-manifold with a sym-
plectic form
2
(M), closed (d = 0) and non-degenerate ( > 0).
Local model (Darboux): R
4
,
0
= dx
1
dy
1
+ dx
2
dy
2
.
E.g.: (CP
n
,
0
= i

log |z|
2
) complex projective surfaces.
The symplectic category is strictly larger (Thurston 1976, Gompf 1994, ...).
Hierarchy of compact oriented 4-manifolds:
COMPLEX PROJ.
surgery
Thurston, Gompf...
SYMPLECTIC
SW invariants
Taubes
SMOOTH
Classication problems.
Complex surfaces are fairly well understood, but their topology as smooth or
symplectic manifolds remains mysterious.
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Example: Horikawa surfaces
X
1
2 : 1
CP
1
CP
1
C
(6,12)
X
2
2 : 1
F
6
= P(O
P
1 O
P
1(6))
5
0

X
1
, X
2
projective surfaces of general type, minimal,
1
= 1
X
1
, X
2
are not deformation equivalent (Horikawa)
X
1
, X
2
are homeomorphic (b
+
2
= 21, b

2
= 93, non-spin)
Open problems:
X
1
, X
2
dieomorphic? (expect: no, even though SW(X
1
) = SW(X
2
))
(X
1
,
1
), (X
2
,
2
) (canonical K ahler forms) symplectomorphic?
Remark: projecting to CP
1
, Horikawa surfaces carry genus 2 brations.
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Lefschetz brations
A Lefschetz bration is a C

map f : M
4
S
2
with isolated non-degenerate
crit. pts, where (in oriented coords.) f(z
1
, z
2
) z
2
1
+z
2
2
. (sing. bers are nodal)
s s
f
M
S
2 s

Monodromy around sing. ber = Dehn twist
vanishing cycle
Also consider: Lefschetz brations with distinguished sections.
Gompf: Assuming [ber] non-torsion in H
2
(M), M carries a symplectic form s.t.

|ber
> 0, unique up to deformation. (extends Thurstons result on symplectic brations)
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Symplectic manifolds and Lefschetz pencils
Algebraic geometry:
X complex surface + ample line bundle projective embedding X CP
N
.
Intersect with a generic pencil of hyperplanes Lefschetz pencil
(= family of curves, at most nodal, through a nite set of base points).
Blow up base points Lefschetz bration with distinguished sections.
Donaldson: Any compact sympl. (X
4
, ) admits a symplectic Lefschetz pencil
f : X base CP
1
; blowing up base points, get a sympl. Lefschetz bration

f :

X S
2
with distinguished 1-sections.
(uses approx. hol. geometry: f = s
0
/s
1
, s
i
C

(X, L
k
), L ample, sup |

s
i
| sup |s
i
|)
In large enough degrees (bers m[], m 0), Donaldsons construction is canonical up to
isotopy; combine with Gompfs results
Corollary: the Horikawa surfaces X
1
and X
2
(with K ahler forms [
i
] = K
X
i
) are
symplectomorphic i generic pencils of curves in the pluricanonical linear systems
[mK
X
i
[ dene topologically equivalent Lefschetz brations with sections for some
m (or for all m 0).
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Monodromy
r r
f
M
S
2 r

r
Monodromy around sing.
ber = Dehn twist
vanishing cycle
Monodromy: :
1
(S
2
p
1
, ..., p
r
) Map
g
=
0
Di
+
(
g
)
Mapping class group: e.g. for T
2
= R
2
/Z
2
, Map
1
= SL(2, Z);
a
=

1 1
0 1

,
b
=

1 0
1 1

Choosing an ordered basis


1
, . . . ,
r
) for
1
(S
2
p
i
), get
(
1
, . . . ,
r
) Map
g
,
i
= (
i
),

i
= 1.
factorization of Id as product of positive Dehn twists.
With n distinguished sections:

:
1
(R
2
p
i
) Map
g,n
Map
g,n
=
0
Di
+
(, ) genus g with n boundaries.

1
. . .
r
= (monodromy at = boundary twist).
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Factorizations
Two natural equivalence relations on factorizations:
1. Global conjugation (change of trivialization of reference ber)
(
1
, . . . ,
r
) (
1

1
, . . . ,
r

1
) Map
g
2. Hurwitz equivalence (change of ordered basis
1
, . . . ,
r
)
(
1
, . . . ,
i
,
i+1
, . . .
r
) (
1
, . . . ,
i+1
,
1
i+1

i+1
, . . . ,
r
)
(
1
, . . . ,
i

i+1

1
i
,
i
, . . . ,
r
)
(generates braid group action on r-tuples)
s

. . . . . .

1

r

i

i+1

s

. . . . . .

1

r

1
i+1

i+1

i+1
genus g Lefschetz brations with n sections / isomorphism

1-1 (if 2 2g n < 0)

factorizations in Map
g,n
=

(pos. Dehn twists)



Hurwitz equiv.
+ global conj.
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Classication in low genus
g = 0, 1: only holomorphic brations ( ruled surfaces, elliptic surfaces).
g = 2, assuming sing. bers are irreducible: r
Siebert-Tian (2003): always isotopic to holomorphic brations, i.e. built from:
(
1

2

3

4

5

5

4

3

2

1
)
2
= 1
(
1

2

3

4

5
)
6
= 1
(
1

2

3

4
)
10
= 1

1

5

2

4

3
(up to a technical assumption; argument relies on pseudo-holomorphic curves)
g 3: intractable
(families of non-holom. examples by Ozbagci-Stipsicz, Smith, Fintushel-Stern, Korkmaz, ...)
The genus 2 brations on X
1
, X
2
are dierent (e.g., dierent monodromy groups):
X
1
: (
1

2

3

4

5

5

4

3

2

1
)
12
= 1
X
2
: (
1

2

3

4
)
30
= 1
... but cant conclude from them!
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Canonical pencils on Horikawa surfaces
On X
1
and X
2
, generic pencils in the linear systems [K
X
i
[ have ber genus 17
(with 16 base points), and 196 nodal bers
compare 2 sets of 196 Dehn twists in Map
17,16
?
Theorem: The canonical pencils on X
1
and X
2
are related by partial conjugation:
(t
1

1
, . . . , t
64

1
, t
65
, . . . , t
196
) vs. (t
1
, . . . , t
196
)
The monodromy groups G
1
, G
2
Map
17,16
are isomorphic; unexpectedly, the
conjugating element belongs to the monodromy group.
Key point: CP
1
CP
1
and F
6
are symplectomorphic; the branch curves of

1
: X
1
CP
1
CP
1
and
2
: X
2
F
6
dier by twisting along a Lagrangian
annulus.
disconnected curve
5
0

F
6
A
connected curve
C
(6,12)
CP
1
CP
1
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Perspectives
Theorem: The canonical pencils on X
1
and X
2
are related by partial conjugation;
G
1
, G
2
Map
17,16
are isomorphic; belongs to the monodromy group.
The same properties hold for pluricanonical pencils [mK
X
i
[ (in larger Map
g,n
)
These pairs of pencils are twisted ber sums of the same pieces.
If were monodromy along an embedded loop (+ more) (X
1
,
1
) (X
2
,
2
)
(but only seems to arise from an immersed loop)
Question: compare these (very similar) mapping class group factorizations??
E.g.: matching paths (= Lagrangian spheres bering above an arc). Expect:
H
2
-classes represented by Lagrangian spheres

?
alg. vanishing cycles (ODP degenerations)
(span [

H
2
(P
1
P
1
)]

,= [

H
2
(F
6
)]

)
f
M
S
2

s s
(but... G
2
suggests where to start looking for exotic matching paths?)
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