Geo2Int Conference

In collaboration with Erlend Grong and Adrien Laurent I am co-organizing a conference 7-9 September at Univiersitetet i Bergen. The conference will bring together researchers in Differential Geometry, Integration Theory, and Numerical Methods. If you’re interested, the conference page can be found at

Course in Stochastic Differential Equations

Adrien and I also gave a topics course in SDEs this spring semester. It was quite enjoyable; for me it also served as preparation for a course in Stochastic Differential Geometry that I’m expecting to teach in the near future. The lectures essentially broke down into three parts:

  1. Review of measure and probability theory
  2. Stochastic Integration via Itô and Stratonovich integrals
  3. Selected topics in Numerical Methods for Stochastic Processes (Adrien) and Stochastic Differential Geometry (Gianmarco)

Below is a playlist with the video lectures captured throughout the semester.

I’ve recently spent some time thinking and learning about index theory; this led to my recent talk at the Universitetet i Bergen on heat kernel methods for proving index theorems. I’d like to continue this by creating a series of blog posts presenting an introduction to index theory accessible to young researchers in mathematics. This post will serve as an introduction to the topic and an indication of what topics I will write.

What is Index Theory?

Given topological vector spaces \(X,Y\) and a linear operator \(D \colon X \rightarrow Y\), the analytic index of \(I_A(D)\) is defined by \[I_A(D) := \dim\ker D – \dim\operatorname{coker} D\] where \(\ker D = D^{-1}(0)\) and \(\operatorname{coker} D = Y/D(X)\). In general, this is not finite; operators with finite analytic index are known as Fredholm operators.

For certain (pseudo)differential operators in appropriate settings, it turns out that these analytic indices can be computed from purely topological information. This is remarkable, since it implies that the existence and properties of such operators is strongly influenced by topological constraints in ways that are not otherwise at all obvious!

The study of index theory is broad, including classical results such as the Gauss-Bonnet Theorem (and its generalizations), which led to results in complex geometry (Riemann-Roch, Hirzebruch Signature, Rochlin), and more recently Atiyah-Singer. It also includes fixed point theorems such as those of Brouwer and Lefschetz. There are many varied proof methods of index theorems worth study in their own right; K-theory, cobordism theory, and heat kernel methods all play prominent roles.

Some Index Theorems


Arguably the earliest index theorem is the Gauss-Bonnet Theorem (1848), which states that for a two dimensional Riemannian manifold \(\mathbb{M}\) (a surface), \[\chi(\mathbb{M}) = \frac{1}{2\pi}\int_\mathbb{M}K\ dA\] where \(\chi(M)\) denotes the Euler characteristic and \(K\) the Gaussian curvature of \(\mathbb{M}\). In this setting, the Euler characteristic was simply defined by \[\chi(\mathbb{M}) := V – E + F\] where \(V,E,\) and \(F\) are respectively the number of vertices, edges, and faces of a triangulation of \(\mathbb{M}\) . Notice, this is independent of the choice of triangulation! This can be seen by considering how the characteristic would change by modifying the triangulation: the basic ways to modify a triangulation are 1) to add an edge between two existing vertices (which also creates a face) or 2) to add a new vertex and connect it by an edge to an existing vertex. Both of these operations keep the characteristic constant.

The original proof follows from the local formula \[\sum_{i=1}^3 \theta_i = \pi + \int_T K\ dA\] relating the interior angle measures \(\theta_i\) of a triangle \(T\) embedded in a (curved) surface to the integral of the Gaussian curvature of the surface. Summing this result over a triangulation of a surface recovers the Gauss-Bonnet Theorem.

This was generalized to arbitrary dimensions (on Riemannian manifolds) by Chern (1945) as \[\chi(\mathbb{M}) = \frac{1}{(2\pi)^{n/2}} \int_\mathbb{M} \operatorname{Pf}(\Omega)\] where the Pfaffian \(\operatorname{Pf}\) is a polynomial in the entries of a matrix and \(\Omega\) is the curvature form associated to the manifold. Here the Euler characteristic has been generalized; it can be defined as the alternating sum of the number of p-dimensional elements of a CW-complex (a higher-dimensional generalization of triangulations), but it is equivalently defined by \[\chi(\mathbb{M}) = \sum_{p=0}^n (-1)^p \dim H^p_{dR}(\mathbb{M}) \] where \(H^p_{dR}(\mathbb{M})\) denotes p-th deRham cohomology group.

To understand the importance of this theorem it is key to note that the Euler characteristic \(\chi(\mathbb{M})\) is a global, topological property of a manifold, while the curvature form \(\Omega\) is associated to the Riemannian structure (and thus is contains much more than topological information) and moreover is a local object. The Chern-Gauss-Bonnet Theorem can be interpreted to assert that by integrating a local, analytic object over the manifold one can recover a purely topological property. This, if nothing else, has strong ramifications for the possible curvatures (and therefore Riemannian structures) that can exist on a manifold. For example, it is an almost immediate corollary that a manifold admits a flat metric if and only if its Euler characteristic is 0.


The Riemann-Roch Index Theorem (1850, Riemann, 1865 Riemann-Roch) gives a similar notion on Riemann surfaces; that is smooth manifolds locally homeomorphic to \(\mathbb{C}\) with holomorphic transition maps. On a Riemann surface we define the set of divisors to be the free abelian group of points on the surface. Associated to a mereomorphic function \(f\) there is a divisor
\[(f) = \sum_{z \in R(f)} s_z z\]
where \(R(f)\) is the set of zeros and poles of \(f\) and \(s_z\) is the degree of \(z\) (setting \(s_z\) positive for zeros and negative for poles).

Extending this notion to the space of differential forms in the obvious way, a divisor is called principal if it is generated by a function (as above); it can be shown that the set of divisors of globally mereomorphic 1-forms are equivalent up to a principal divisor, and thus we call this equivalence class the canonical divisor \(K\).

Associated to a divisor \(D\) are two quantities of interest:

  • Degree \(d(D)\) given by the sum of the coefficients
  • Index \(l(D)\) given by the complex dimension of the space of mereomorphic functions \(f\) such that \((f)+D\) is nonnegative

The Riemann-Roch Index Theorem states then that for any divisor D,
\[l(D) – l(K-D) = d(D) – (g-1)\]
where \(g\) denotes the genus of the Riemann surface.

To see an immediate application of this, set \(D = 0\) to see that \(l(K) – l(0) = g-1\) and then set \(D=K\) to get \(l(K)-l(0) = d(K) – (g-1)\). Together these imply that the degree of the canonical divisor is always
\[d(K) = 2g-2\]
As with the Gauss-Bonnet Theorem, this seemingly simple result gives topological restrictions on analytic objects!

The Riemann-Roch theorem was generalized by Hirzebruch in 1954 to spaces of higher dimension by considering the indices \(l(K-D),l(D)\) as the dimensions of sheaf cohomology groups. Later (1957) Grothendieck went further, interpreting the Riemann-Roch theorem as a statement about a morphism between varieties which spurred the now famous Atiyah-Singer Index Theorem.


The most famous index theorem is almost certainly that of Atiyah and Singer (1963); roughly speaking, it states that for a Dirac operator \(D\) on the spin bundle \(G^\pm = \mathcal{S}^\pm(\mathbb{M}) \otimes \xi\) of a spin manifold \(\mathbb{M}\) that

\[\dim\ker D^+ – \dim\ker D^- = \int_\mathbb{M} \hat{A}(T\mathbb{M}) \wedge \operatorname{ch}(\xi)\]

This fairly dense statement is actually a generalization of both the earlier index theorems; the left-hand side \(\dim\ker D^+ – \dim\ker D^-\) is known as the analytic index of D and the right-hand side \(\int_\mathbb{M} \hat{A}(T\mathbb{M}) \wedge \operatorname{ch}(\xi)\) is referred to as the topological index.

Applying this theorem to the operator \(D = d + \delta\) acting on the space of differential forms \(\Lambda^*\mathbb{M}\) (splitting by even/odd degree) will recover the Chern-Gauss-Bonnet Theorem, by recognizing \(\chi(\mathbb{M})\) as the topological index and \(\frac{1}{(2\pi)^{n/2}}\int_\mathbb{M} \operatorname{Pf}(\Omega)\) as the analytic index.

Similarly, by letting \(D = \bar\partial + \bar\partial^*\) on the bundle of differential forms of type \((0,i)\) over a complex manifold (splitting as \(i\) even/odd) we recover the Hirzebruch-Riemann-Roch theorem.


I am interested in so-called “heat kernel” methods of proof for index theorems; I intend to give a series of posts that explore some index theorems in more depth and give some indication of these methods.

This summer was busy; I figure it’s about time for an update.

My research this summer was primarily to continue ongoing work on H-type foliations that I presented last year in Grenoble and Hannover. I’ve also been continuing to write about connections in foliated manifolds, in the same vein as my earlier posts on the blog.

I’ve also been looking into confoliations (Eliashberg and Thurston), which act as an interpolation between foliations and contact structures. That is, we can understand both foliations and contact structures on 3-dimensional manifolds as being generated by a plane field \(\xi\) determined by a nonvanishing one-form \(\alpha\) obeying the Pfaffian equation \(\alpha(\xi) = 0\). If the condition \(\alpha \wedge d\alpha \equiv 0\) is satisfied then \(\xi\) is a foliation, while the nonvanishing condition \(\alpha \wedge d\alpha > 0\) implies that \(\xi\) is a positive contact structure. To generalize this perspective, positive confoliations are defined as plane fields \(\xi\) generated by a one form \(\alpha\) satisfying the condition \(\alpha \wedge d\alpha \geq 0\). Observing that foliations and contact structures are extreme cases of confoliations, they can be used to unify the two (historically disjoint) theories.

I spent a good portion of my summer running an REU at UConn (with oversight by Oleksii Mostovyi) in financial mathematics (a first for me!) We had three students, Sarah Boese, Tracy Cui, and Sam Johnston, who worked intensely all summer learning about hedging by sequential regression; they were able to show several interesting results about the Follmer-Schweizer decomposition in discrete models including a new result on asymptotic stability of the decomposition.

At UHart I taught a course in Multivariable Calculus; I made it my goal to focus on Stokes’ Theorem and its various special cases in \(\mathbb{R}^2\) and \(\mathbb{R}^3\), which went very well. Some comments from a very active student have led me to add a lecture on the relationship between Clairaut’s Theorem, Fubini’s Theorem, and Leibniz’s integral rule the next time I cover the material. At UConn I also TA’d a course in Linear Algebra.

On a personal note, I was able to travel to Ecuador with my family. It was my first trip that far south, and an absolutely gorgeous country. We spent most of the time in Guayaquil, and had the chance to visit Cuenca and Quito.

Tags: , , ,

I’m attending the conference Microlocal and Global Analysis, Interactions with Geometry in Potsdam this week; it’s being held at the University of Potsdam in the Neues Palais, which is literally a palace (in typical German math department style, cf. the Department of Mathematics at Leibniz Universitat, which is in a castle.)

Neues Palais, an historic palace and representative German university.

The conference is dedicated to Professor Bert-Wolfgang Schulze on the occasion of his 75th birthday; he created this conference (which has been an annual event for some years) and has made significant contributions to the field.

The schedule is very busy, and already halfway through the second day there have been a number of good talks related to my research interests. In particular, I was impressed by Francesco Bei, “Degenerating Hermitian metrics and spectral convergence” in which he gave strong results of the spectrum of the Hodge-Kodaira Laplacian on Hermitian complex spaces, and Gerardo Mendoza, “Singular foliations by tori” in which he classified closed manifolds foliated by Killing fields in a manner analogous to the classification of line bundles by their Chern classes. I’m looking forward to the rest of the conference, I’ll update here as it goes!

I should mention, I was able to present a poster on my joint research on H-type foliations with Fabrice Baudoin, Erlend Grong, and Luca Rizzi. My thanks to the conference for this opportunity!

Neues Palais, as seen from the air

Update, Thursday 7 March:

The fourth day of the conference has wrapped up, and it’s continued to present very good speakers. On Wednesday Irina Markina talked about the Cauchy-Szegö kernel for the quaternionic Seigel uppee half space, which was very interesting and had a surprising number of connections to my recent studies in Clifford algebras, and Wolfram Bauer presented his work (joint with Irina Markina) on ultrahyperbolic operators on pseudo H type groups, which is a different generalization than the H type foliations I’ve recently been involved with. Both were excellent talks. I would be remiss not to mention that Fabrice Baudoin presented our paper (with Erlend Grong and Luca Rizzi) on H type foliations. It was well presented and well received. It was a very good day for topics close to my interests!

On Thursday there were two talks on index theory that caught my attention; Maxim Braverman spoke about Callias type operators and index theory on noncompact manifolds, and Paolo Piazza presented work about K-theory classes and their properties on a type of singular manifold. Georges Habib also talked about the Bochner formula for Riemannian foliations, which I found very familiar.

Outside Krongut Bornstedt

There was a dinner on Wednesday night at the Krongut Bornstedt, a brewery that has served the conference for many years. The beer was as great as I remember from last year, and I had a great conversation with several very good speakers from the conference!

I had the opportunity to present The Horizontal Einstein Property for H-type Foliations at the Journées sous-Riemanniennes last Fall, which was recorded. Here’s a link to the video on YouTube! Thanks again to Luca Rizzi for the invitation and the great conference.

This week I’m in Hanover, DE at the Workshop in Analysis and PDE.  It’s been very enjoyable (it’s worth noting that the conference is hosted in the Leibniz Universitat Hanover, which is literally a castle!) The talks have been diverse and interesting; a collection of sub-Riemannian talks by Davide Barilari, Erlend Grong, and Fabrice Baudoin were of particular interest to me.

Update: I’m just leaving Grenoble, where I presented at the conference Journées sous-Riemanniennes at the Institut Fourier. It’s been a great week in a beautiful city! The conference was particularly good, as it specialized in sub-Riemannian geometry and gave me the chance to see a number of different perspectives on the subject. The talks by Dario Prandi on Weyl’s law and Francesco Boarotto on regular abnormal curves especially stood out for me. The talks were video recorded, and will be uploaded online once they’ve been edited; I’ll link here once they are.

Grenoble itself was a wonderful place to visit; it is nestled in the mountains of southeastern France. I got the chance to explore the city some and to climb to La Basitille, an old fort perched on one of the mountains on the edge of town. The food was exceptional, and I finally got the chance to practice my French! I definitely plan to return next October.

So, I’m feeling inspired to outline what I’ve been working on and some things that I’d like to do in the near future.  First, ongoing work: I’m presenting The Horizontal Einstein property for H-type Foliations both here and in Grenoble this upcoming week.  The H-type sub-Riemannian manifolds are the primary object of interest; they were introduced by Baudoin and Kim in 2016, and seem to be an ideal class of sub-Riemannian manifolds on which to attempt to recover many Riemannian results.

Defining for a sub-Riemannian manifold with metric complement \((\mathbb{M}, \mathcal{H}, g)\) a map \(J \colon \mathcal{V} \rightarrow \operatorname{End}^-(\mathcal{H})\) by

\[\langle J_Z X, Y \rangle_\mathcal{H} = \langle Z, T(X,Y) \rangle_\mathcal{V}\]

where \(T\) is the torsion tensor of the Hladky-Bott connection, we say that \((\mathbb{M},\mathcal{H},g)\) is an H-type sub-Riemannian manifold if

  1. \(\mathcal{V}\) is integrable,
  2. For all \(X,Y \in \Gamma^\infty(\mathcal{H}), Z \in \Gamma^\infty(\mathcal{V})\), \[\langle J_ZX, J_ZY \rangle_\mathcal{H} = \|Z\|^2_\mathcal{V} \langle X,Y \rangle_\mathcal{H} \]

The second property is essential, and induces a Clifford structure over \(\mathcal{H}\). This class of spaces in remarkably broad, while still allowing for a number of strong results (which are forthcoming in a paper with F. Baudoin, E. Grong, and L. Rizzi.)

I’m also still working to continue the material posted earlier in this blog.  I’d like to gather the results for various connections on foliated manifolds and relate them to connections on sub-Riemannian spaces; the Hladky-Bott connection seems to be particularly well adapted to this setting.

There are also a few new directions I’ve been thinking about, particularly the Hamiltonian approach on sub-Riemannian manifolds, as well as heat kernels (leading towards index theory) on sub-Riemannian manifolds.  I’ll post updates on my progress in these directions going forward.


This post is the third of a series on connections on foliated manifolds.

  1. The Bott connection on foliated manifolds,
  2. Tanno’s connection on contact manifolds,
  3. The equivalence of Bott and Tanno’s connections on \(K\)-contact manifolds with the Reeb foliation,
  4. Connections on codimension 3 sub-Riemannian manifolds.

In the last two posts, we have discussed basic properties of the Bott connection on general foliated manifolds and Tanno’s connection on contact manifolds.  Here we will show that the two notions are equivalent under a certain condition on the contact structure.

Throughout this post, all manifolds will be smooth.

3. Bott and Tanno’s connections on \(K\)-contact manifolds

The key property we want on a contact manifold is the following:

Definition 3.1

Let \((\mathbb{M},\theta,g)\) be a contact manifold with compatible metric \(g\). We call \(\mathbb{M}\) a \(K\)-contact manifold if the associated Reeb field \(\xi\) is a Killing field, that is if

\[\mathcal{L}_\xi g = 0\]

We are interested in \(K\)-contact manifolds because of the following

Proposition 3.2

Let \((\mathbb{M},\theta,g,\mathcal{F}_\xi)\) be a contact manifold equipped with Reeb foliation \(\mathcal{F}_\xi\).  Then the following are equivalent:

  1. \((\mathbb{M},\theta,g)\) is a \(K\)-contact manifold,
  2. \((\mathbb{M},g,\mathcal{F}_\xi)\) is a totally-geodesic foliation with bundle-like metric \(g\).

Remark: Boyer and Galicki indicate that they prefer the name bundle-like contact metric manifold to \(K\)-contact manifold, as it is more descriptive and equivalent by the above. I’m not sure of the history of the name, but this makes sense to me.  I’ll probably use the two interchangeably in future posts.


The equivalence of the \(K\)-contact condition and \((\mathbb{M},g,\mathcal{F}_\xi)\) being having a bundle-like metric \(g\) is by essentially definition since this is equivalent to

\[\mathcal{L}_Zg(X,X) = 0\]

for \(X \in \Gamma(\mathcal{H}), Z \in \Gamma(\mathcal{V})\).  To see that \(K\) contact manifolds are totally-geodesic foliations, observe that

\mathcal{L}_Xg(Z,Z) &= X\cdot g(Z,Z) – 2g([X,Z],Z) \\
&= 2\theta(Z) \iota_X d\theta(Z) + 2g([Z,X],Z) \\
&= -\mathcal{L}_Z g(X,Z) + Z \cdot g(X,Z) \\
&= 0 \\

completing the proof.

Remark: I think there must be a nicer way to show that \(K\)-contact manifolds are totally-geodesic, I may update this.

Now we can state the main claim:

Theorem 3.3

Let \((\mathbb{M}, \theta, g)\) be a \(K\)-contact manifold with Reeb foliation \(\mathcal{F}_\xi\).  Then the Bott connection \(\nabla^B\) on \((\mathbb{M},g,\mathcal{F}_\xi)\) and Tanno’s connection \(\nabla^T\) on \((\mathbb{M},\theta,g)\) coincide.


By Proposition 3.2 the Bott connection is well-defined, and both the Bott and Tanno’s connections are unique by definition.  To see that they are equivalent, we need to show that one satisfies the conditions of the other.  We will proceed by showing that Tanno’s connection satisfies the conditions of Theorem 1.1 defining the Bott connection.

  1. (\(\nabla^B\) is metric)
    By definition, Tanno’s connection is metric.
  2. (If \(Y \in \Gamma(\mathcal{H})\) then \(\nabla^B_XY \in \Gamma(\mathcal{H})\))
    We have that
    \nabla^T_XY &= -\nabla^T_X(J^2Y) \\
    &= -(\nabla^T_X J)(JY) + J(\nabla^T_X(JY)) \\
    &= -Q(JY,X) + J(\nabla^T_X(JY)) \\
    &= -\left( (\nabla^g_XJ)(JY) – [(\nabla^g_X\theta)(J^2Y)]\xi +\theta(JY)J(\nabla^g_X\xi) \right) + J(\nabla^T_X(JY)) \\
    &= -\left( \nabla^g_X(J^2Y) – J(\nabla^g_X(JY)) – \nabla^g_X(\theta Y) + \theta(\nabla^g_XY)\xi \right)  + J(\nabla^T_X(JY)) \\
    &= -\left( – \nabla^g_XY – J(\nabla^g_X(JY)) + \theta(\nabla^g_XY)\xi \right) + J(\nabla^T_X(JY)) \\
    &= – J(\nabla^g_XY) + J(\nabla^g_X(JY)) + J(\nabla^T_X(JY)) \in \Gamma(\mathcal{H})
  3. (If \(Z \in \Gamma(\mathcal{V})\) then \(\nabla^B_XZ \in \Gamma(\mathcal{V})\))
    By property 2 of Tanno’s connection,
    \[\nabla^T_XZ = \nabla^T_X(\theta(Z)\xi) = \nabla^T_X(\theta(Z))\xi \in \Gamma(\mathcal{V})\]
  4. (For \(X_1,X_2 \in \Gamma(\mathcal{H})\) and \(Z_1,Z_2 \in \Gamma(\mathcal{V})\) it holds that \(T^B(X_1,X_2) \in \Gamma(\mathcal{V})\) and \(T^B(Z_1,X_1) = T^B(Z_1,Z_2) = 0\))
    For the first claim, we see that by property 4 of Tanno’s connection,
    \[T^T(X_1,X_2) = d\theta(X_1,X_2)\xi \in \Gamma(\mathcal{V}).\]For the second,
    T^T(Z_1,X_1) &=  -T^T(Z_1,J^2X_1) = JT^T(\xi,JX_1) \\
    &= – J^2T^T(Z_1,X_1) \\
    using the fact that \(J^2X_1 = -X_1\) for horizontal vector fields and property 5 of Tanno’s connection.  This implies that \(T^T(Z_1,X_1)\) is horizontal.  By the definition of the torsion tensor we see that
    \[T^T(Z_1,X_1) = \nabla^T_{Z_1}X_1 – \nabla^T_{X_1}Z_1 – [Z_1,X_1] = \nabla^T_{Z_1}X_1\]
    since \(\nabla^T_{X_1}Z_1\) is vertical by 3, and the bracket vanishes by assuming \(X_1\) to be basic.  However, the right hand side of this expression is not tensorial in \(X_1\), and so we conclude that
    \[T^T(Z_1,X_1) = 0\]

    \[T^T(Z_1,Z_2) =  \theta(Z_1) \theta(Z_2) T^T(\xi, \xi) = 0\]
    completing the proof.

Tags: , , ,

I’ve been looking at codimension 3 sub-Riemannian manifolds, so I’m posting out of order. The planned sequence is

  1. The Bott connection on foliated manifolds,
  2. Tanno’s connection on contact manifolds,
  3. The equivalence of Bott and Tanno’s connections on \(K\)-contact manifolds with the Reeb foliation,
  4. Connections on codimension 3 sub-Riemannian manifolds.

Definition 4.1

Let \((\mathbb{M},g,\mathcal{H})\) be a \(4n+3\)-dimensional sub-Riemannian manifold with codimension \(3\) distribution \(\mathcal{H}\) such that

  • \(\mathcal{H}\) has a \(Sp(n)Sp(1)\)-structure, that is there exists a rank 3 bundle \(\mathcal{Q}\) consisting of \((1,1)\)-tensors on \(\mathcal{H}\) locally generated by three almost-complex structures \(I_1,I_2,I_3\) on \(\mathcal{H}\) satisfying the quaternion relations \(I_1I_2I_3 = -id\) which are hermitian compatible with the metric, that is
    \[g(I_j \cdot, I_j \cdot) = g(\cdot, \cdot)\]
    for \(j \in \{1,2,3\}\).
  • \(\mathcal{H}\) is locally given as the kernel of a \(1\)-form \(\eta = (\eta_1,\eta_2,\eta_3)\) with values in \(\mathbb{R}^3\) such that
    \[2g(I_jX,Y) = d\eta_j(X,Y)\]
    for \(j \in \{1,2,3\}\).

We then call \((\mathbb{M},g,\mathcal{H},\mathcal{Q})\) a quaternionic contact manifold or qc manifold.

Remark. These are interesting because they are an example of sub-Riemannian manifolds where
\[(\mathcal{L}_{X_\mathcal{V}}g)(Y_\mathcal{H},Z_\mathcal{H}) \neq 0\]

In this setting, we have two reference connections, the Hladky connection and Biquard connection.

Theorem 4.2 (Biquard)

Let \((\mathbb{M},g,\mathcal{H},\mathcal{Q})\) be a quaternionic contact manifold of dimension \(4n+3 > 7\). Then there exists a unique connection \(\nabla^{Bi}\) with torsion \(T^{Bi}\) on \(\mathbb{M}\) and a unique supplementary distibution \(\mathcal{V}\) to \(\mathcal{H}\) such that

  • \(\mathcal{H}, \mathcal{V},\) and \(g\) are parallel for \(\nabla^{Bi}\);
  • \(T^{Bi}(\mathcal{H},\mathcal{H}) \subseteq \mathcal{V}, T^{Bi}(\mathcal{H},\mathcal{V}) \subseteq \mathcal{H}\);
  • for \(X \in \mathcal{V},\) the operator \(T^{Bi}(X, \cdot) \colon \mathcal{H} \rightarrow \mathcal{H}\) is in \((\mathfrak{sp}(n)\oplus \mathfrak{sp}(1))^\perp \subset \mathfrak{gl}(4n)\).

The connection \(\nabla^{Bi}\) is called the Biquard connection on \((\mathbb{M},g,\mathcal{H},\mathcal{Q})\).

Biquard also described the vertical space \(\mathcal{V}\) as being locally generated by vector fields \(\{\xi_1,\xi_2,\xi_3\}\) such that
\eta_j(\xi_k) &= \delta_{jk}, \\
(\iota_{\xi_j}d\eta_j)_\mathcal{H} &= 0, \\
(\iota_{\xi_j}d\eta_k)_\mathcal{H} &= -(\iota_{\xi_k}d\eta_j)_\mathcal{H}
The fields \(\{\xi_1,\xi_2,\xi_3\}\) are called Reeb vector fields, in keeping with the nomenclature for contact manifolds.

Remark. The condition \(T^{Bi}(\mathcal{H},\mathcal{H}) \subseteq \mathcal{V}\) is equivalent to \(T^{Bi}(X,Y) = -[X,Y]_\mathcal{V}\) for all \(X,Y \in \mathcal{H}\).

Remark. Biquard showed moreover that for a qc manifold \((\mathbb{M},g,\mathcal{H},\mathcal{Q})\) of dimension \(7\) there may not be any such fields. Duchemin has shown that the Biquard connection exists for a \(7\) dimensional qc manifold if we assume the existence of the Reeb vector fields.

We now introduce the concept of an \(r\)-graded sub-Riemannian manifold in order to define Hladky’s connection.

Definition 4.3

We call a sub-Riemannian manifold \((\mathbb{M},g,\mathcal{H})\) equipped with a choice of supplementary distribution \(\mathcal{V}\) (that is \(T\mathbb{M} = \mathcal{H} \oplus \mathcal{V}\)) a sub-Riemannian manifold with complement or sRC manifold.

We say that a sRC manifold \((\mathbb{M},g,\mathcal{H},\mathcal{V})\) is r-graded if there are smooth constant rank bundles \(\mathcal{V}^{(j)}, 0 < j \leq r\), such that
\[\mathcal{V} = \mathcal{V}^{(1)} \oplus \cdots \oplus \mathcal{V}^{(r)}\]
\[\mathcal{H} \oplus \mathcal{V}^{(j)} \oplus [\mathcal{H},\mathcal{V}^{(j)}] \subseteq \mathcal{H} \oplus \mathcal{V}^{(j)} \oplus \mathcal{V}^{(j+1)}\]
for all \(0 \leq j \leq r\) with the convention that \(\mathcal{V}^{(0)} = \mathcal{H}\) and \(\mathcal{V}^{(j)} = 0\) for \(j > r\).

A metric extension for an r-graded sRC manifold \((\mathbb{M},g,\mathcal{V},\mathcal{H})\) is a Riemannian metric \(\tilde g\) that agrees with \(g\) on \(\mathcal{H}\) and makes the split
\[T\mathbb{M} = \mathcal{H} \oplus_{1 \leq g \leq r} \mathcal{V}^{(j)}\]

For convenience, we shall denote by \(X^{(j)}\) a section of \(\mathcal{V}^{(j)}\) and set
\[\hat{\mathcal{V}}^{(j)} = \bigoplus_{k \neq j} \mathcal{V}^{(k)}\]

Lie derivatives are not tensorial in general, but we can define on an sRC manifold with metric extension the symmetric tensor \(B^{(j)}\) by
\[B^{(j)}(X,Y,Z) = (\mathcal{L}_Zg)(X,Y)\]
for \(X,Y \in \mathcal{V}^{(j)}, Z \in \hat{\mathcal{V}}^{(j)}\) and setting \(B^{(j)} = 0\) on the orthogonal complement of \(\mathcal{V}^{(j)} \times \mathcal{V}^{(j)} \times \hat{\mathcal{V}}^{(j)}\).

We contract these to tensors \(C^{(j)} \colon T\mathbb{M} \times T\mathbb{M} \rightarrow \mathcal{V}^{(j)}\) defined by
\[g(C^{(j)} (X,Y), Z^{(j)}) = B^{(j)}(X,Z^{(j)},Y)\]

Remark. The tensors \(B^{(0)}\) and \(C^{(0)}\) rely only on the sRC structure, and are independent of the grading and metric extension

Definition 4.4

If \(g\) is a metric extension of a r-graded sRC manifold then there exists a unique connection \({\nabla^{Hl}}^{(r)}\) with torsion \({T^{Hl}}^{(r)}\) such that

  • \({\nabla^{Hl}}^{(r)}\) is metric, that is \({\nabla^{Hl}}^{(r)} g = 0\);
  • \(\mathcal{V}^{(j)}\) is parallel for all \(j\);
  • \({T^{Hl}}^{(r)}(\mathcal{V}^{(j)},\mathcal{V}^{(j)}) \subseteq \hat{\mathcal{V}}^{(j)}\) for all \(j\);
  • \(g({T^{Hl}}^{(r)}(X^{(j)}, Y^{(k)}),Z^{(j)}) = g({T^{Hl}}^{(r)}(Z^{(j)}, Y^{(k)}),X^{(j)})\) for all \(j,k\).

Furthermore, if \(X,Y \in \mathcal{H}\) then \({\nabla^{Hl}}^{(r)}(X)\) and \({T^{Hl}}^{(r)}(X,Y)\) are independent of the choice of grading and metric extension.

The Hladky connection can be expressed explicitly for vector fields \(X,Y,Z \in V^{(j)}, T \in \hat{\mathcal{V}}^{(j)}\) by
g({\nabla^{Hl}}^{(r)}_XY, T) &= 0 \\
g({\nabla^{Hl}}^{(r)}_XY, Z) &= g(\nabla^g_XY,Z) \\
{\nabla^{Hl}}^{(r)}_TY &= [T,Y]_j + \frac{1}{2}C^{(j)}(Y,T) \\
where \(\nabla^g\) is the Levi-Civita connection.

Remark. An r-graded sRC manifold also admits a k-grading (for all \(1 \leq k < r\)) given by
\[ \tilde{\mathcal{V}}^{(j)} = \mathcal{V}^{(j)}, 0 \leq j < k, \qquad \tilde{\mathcal{V}}^{(k)} = \bigoplus_{j \geq k} \mathcal{V}^{(j)} \]
and then associated to each k-grading there is a connection \({\nabla^{Hl}}^{(k)}\). For this entire family of connections, \({\nabla^{Hl}}^{(j)} X^{(k)} = {\nabla^{Hl}}^{(r)}X^{(k)}\) whenever \(0 \leq k < j\), so in particular for a horizontal vector field \(X\) it holds that
\[{\nabla^{Hl}}^{(1)}X = {\nabla^{Hl}}^{(2)}X = \cdots {\nabla^{Hl}}^{(r)}X\]
and so the differences between the connections \({\nabla^{Hl}}^{(k)}X\) can be viewed as a choice of how to differentiate vertical vector fields.

All we need is the trivial 1-grading, but I wonder if the connections associated to higher gradings may be interesting.

Theorem 4.5 (Hladky)

Let \((\mathbb{M},g,\mathcal{H},\mathcal{V})\) be an r-graded sRC manifold with extended metric. We will call \({\nabla^{Hl}} = {\nabla^{Hl}}^{(1)}\) the Hladky connection on \(\mathbb{M}\).

Corollary 4.6

The Hladky connection is uniquely determined on a 1-graded sRC manifold with metric extension by the properties

  • \(\mathcal{H}, \mathcal{V},\) and \(g\) are parallel for \({\nabla^{Hl}}\);
  • \({T^{Hl}}(\mathcal{H},\mathcal{H}) \subseteq \mathcal{V}, {T^{Hl}}(\mathcal{V},\mathcal{V}) \subseteq \mathcal{H},\);
  • \(g({T^{Hl}}(X,Z),Y) = g({T^{Hl}}(Y,Z),X)\) for \(X,Y \in \mathcal{V}, Z \in \mathcal{H}\) or \(X,Y \in \mathcal{H}, Z \in \mathcal{V}\).

Remark. If \((\mathcal{L}_{X_\mathcal{V}}g)(Y_\mathcal{H}, Z_\mathcal{H}) = 0\) then \(B^{(j)} = C^{(j)} = 0\) and the Hladky connection is equivalent to the Bott and Tanno connections. This occurs, for example, in the K-contact case.

Let \((\mathbb{M},g,\mathcal{H},\mathcal{Q})\) be a qc manfold (assuming the existence of the Reeb fields in dimension 7.) By the defining theorem for Biquard’s connection there is a unique distribution \(\mathcal{V}\) such that the Biquard connection is well defined. Then given an orthogonal extension \(\tilde{g}\) of the metric to \(\mathcal{V}\), \((\mathbb{M},\tilde{g},\mathcal{H},\mathcal{V})\) will be a 1-graded sRC manifold with metric extension and thus have an Hladky connection by defining theorem for Hladky’s connection.

If we extend \(g\) to \(\mathcal{V} = span(\xi_1,\xi_2,\xi_3)\) by requiring \(g(\xi_j, \xi_k) = \delta_{jk}\), it is known that \(\nabla^{Bi} g = 0\), in agreement with \({\nabla^{Hl}}\).

QUESTION: Do the Hladky and Biquard connections agree for this extension? Do they even agree on \(\mathcal{H}\)?

Using the explicit expression for the Hladky connection, we see that for \(X \in \mathcal{V},Y \in \mathcal{H}\),

{T^{Hl}}(X,Y) &= {\nabla^{Hl}}_XY – {\nabla^{Hl}}_YX – [X,Y] \\
&= [X,Y]_\mathcal{H} + \frac{1}{2} C^\mathcal{H}(Y,X) – [Y,X]_\mathcal{V} – \frac{1}{2}C^\mathcal{V}(X,Y) – [X,Y] \\
&= \frac{1}{2} \left( C^\mathcal{H}(Y,X) – C^\mathcal{V}(X,Y) \right) \\

using this, we can get expressions for the horizontal and vertical components. For \(Z \in \mathcal{V}\),
g({T^{Hl}}(X,Y), Z) &= \frac{1}{2} g \left( C^\mathcal{H}(Y,X) – C^\mathcal{V}(X,Y), Z \right) \\
&= -\frac{1}{2} B^\mathcal{V}(X,Z,Y) \\
&= -\frac{1}{2} (\mathcal{L}_Y g)(X,Z) \\
&= 0 \\
as desired, so for \(X \in \mathcal{V}\), we have that \({T^{Hl}}(X, \cdot) \colon \mathcal{H} \rightarrow \mathcal{H}\) in agreement with \(T^{Bi}\). Moreover for \(Z \in \mathcal{H}\),

g({T^{Hl}}(X,Y), Z) &= \frac{1}{2} g \left( C^\mathcal{H}(Y,X) – C^\mathcal{V}(X,Y), Z \right) \\
&= \frac{1}{2} B^\mathcal{H}(Y,Z,X) \\
&= \frac{1}{2} (\mathcal{L}_X g)(Y,Z) \\

This is sufficient to show that if \(\frac{1}{2} (\mathcal{L}_X g)(Y,Z) = 0\) then \({\nabla^{Hl}} = \nabla^{Bi}\). Otherwise, we need to determine if \({T^{Hl}}(X, \cdot) \colon \mathcal{H} \rightarrow \mathcal{H}\) is in \((\mathfrak{sp}(n)\oplus \mathfrak{sp}(1))^\perp \subset \mathfrak{gl}(4n)\), which doesn’t seem to be the case.

Tags: , , ,

The following is essentially the content of the second talk I gave on Sasakian and Kähler manifolds.

Sasakian Boothby-Wang Fibrations

Theorem (Newlander-Nirenberg)
An almost complex structure \(J\) is integrable if and only if the Nijenhuis tensor
\[N_J(X,Y) = -J^2[X,Y] + J([JX,Y] + [X,JY]) – [JX,JY]\]

The Boothby-Wang fibration gives a canonical circle bundle over a symplectic manifold. Recall, of course, that Kähler manifolds are symplectic; there is the following interesting result:

Theorem (Hatakeyama)
Suppose that on a principle fiber bundle \(\pi \colon \mathbb{M} \rightarrow \mathbb{B}\) over an almost complex manifold \(\mathbb{B}\) with group \(S^1\) we can define an almost contact structure \((\xi,\eta,\Phi)\). Then if the almost complex structure \(J = \Phi \vert_\mathbb{B}\) is integrable and the curvature form \(\omega\) given by \(\pi^*\omega = d\eta\) on \(\mathbb{B}\) associated to the contact form \(\eta\) of \(\mathbb{M}\) is of type \((1,1)\) with respect to the almost complex structure, then the almost contact structure on \(\mathbb{M}\) is normal.

By a paper of Sasaki and Hatakeyama normality of the contact metric structure is equivalent to the vanishing of the tensor
\[N(X,Y) = [X,Y] + \Phi [\Phi X,Y] + \Phi [X,\Phi Y] – [\Phi X,\Phi Y] – \eta([X,Y])\xi – d\eta(X,Y)\xi\]
which follows from considering the Nijenhuis tensor on the Riemannian cone over \(\mathbb{M}\). Projecting onto the horizontal and vertical spaces, it is clear that \(N(X,Y) = 0\) if and only if \(\pi(N(X,Y)) = 0\) and \(\eta(N(X,Y)) = 0\). Directly, it can be seen that
\[\pi(N_p(X,Y)) = \bar{N}_{\pi(p)}(\pi X,\pi Y)\]
where \(\bar{N}\) is the Nijenhuis tensor associated to the almost complex structure \(J\) on \(\mathbb{B}\). Then the Newlander-Nirenberg theorem implies that \(N\) will vanish only if \(J\) is integrable.
\[\eta(N(X,Y)) = -\eta([\Phi X,\Phi Y]) – d\eta(X,Y)\]
\[-\eta([\Phi X,\Phi Y]) = d\eta(\Phi X,\Phi Y)\]
so that \(\eta(N(X,Y))\) vanishes if any only if
\[d\eta(\Phi X,\Phi Y) = d\eta(X,Y)\]
which is equivalent to
\[\omega(J(\pi X), J(\pi Y)) = \omega( \pi X, \pi Y)\]
and so we are done.

Taking the last two results together gives

Theorem (Hatakeyama)
A necessary and sufficient condition for a compact manifold with a regular contact structure to admit an associated normal contact metric structure (and thus be Sasakian) is that the base manifold of the Boothby-Wang fibration of \(\mathbb{M}\) is Hodge.

One direction is the content of the Boothby-Wang theorem. If \(\mathbb{M}\) is Hodge, it is Kähler, and thus the almost complex structure is integrable. From the first talk, the almost complex structure is compatible with the symplectic form \(\omega\), which is precisely the statement
\[\omega(JX,JY) = \omega(X,Y)\]
and so we are done.

3-Sasakian manifolds

We want to introduce a generalization of the Kähler-Sasakian correspondence by allowing for the existence of triples of structures obeying a quaternionic relation. We begin with the following

Let \(\mathbb{M}\) be a \(4n\)-dimensional manifold with 3 integrable almost complex structures \(I_1,I_2,I_3\) such that
\[I_iI_j = -\delta_{ij}Id + 2 \epsilon_{ijk}I_k\]
Then we call \((\mathbb{M}, I,J,K)\) a hyperkähler manifold.

To develop the corresponding `Sasakian’ notion, we begin with extending the definition of a `contact’ manifold.

Let \(\mathbb{M}\) be a \(4n+3\)-dimensional manifold such that there exists a family of contact structures \(\mathcal{S} = \{\eta(\tau),\xi(\tau),\Phi(\tau)\}\) parameterized by \(\tau \in S^2\) satisfying the relations

  • \(\Phi(\tau) \circ \Phi(\tau’) – \eta(\tau) \otimes \eta(\tau’) = – \Phi(\tau \times \tau’) – (\tau \cdot \tau’)Id\)
  • \(\Phi(\tau)\xi(\tau’) = – \xi(\tau \times \tau’)\), and
  • \(\eta(\tau) \circ \Phi(\tau’) = – \eta(\tau \times \tau’) \)

for all \(\tau, \tau’ \in S^2\). We then call \((\mathbb{M}, \{\eta(\tau),\xi(\tau),\Phi(\tau)\})\) an almost hypercontact manifold. If moreover there exists a Riemannian metric \(g\) on \(M\) such that
\[g(\Phi(\tau)X, \Phi(\tau)Y) = g(X,Y) – \eta(\tau)(X) \eta(\tau)(Y)\]
for all \(\tau \in S^2\) we call \((\mathbb{M}, g, \{\eta(\tau),\xi(\tau),\Phi(\tau)\})\) an almost hypercontact metric manifold.

Remark: Another standard definition comes from a choice of an orthonormal frame on \(\mathbb{R}^3\), which we will refer to as an almost contact (metric) 3-structure.

Remark: Every compact, orientable 3-manifold admits an almost contact 3-structure.

Attempting to generalize the idea of Sasakian manifolds gives us the following

There exists a one-to-one correspondence between almost hypercontact structures on \(\mathbb{M}\) and \(\Psi\)-invariant almost hypercomplex structures \(\mathcal{I}\) on the cone \(C(\mathbb{M}) = \mathbb{M} \times \mathbb{R}^+\).

and so we define

Let \((\mathbb{M},\mathcal{S}, g)\) be an almost hypercontact metric manifold. Then if \((C(\mathbb{M}), \mathcal{I}, g)\) is hyperkähler, we call \((\mathbb{M},\mathcal{S}, g)\) 3-Sasakian.

If \(\mathcal{S} = \{\eta(\tau),\xi(\tau),\Phi(\tau)\}\) is a 3-Sasakian structure on \((\mathbb{M},g)\) then

  • \(g(\xi(\tau),\xi(\tau’)) = \tau \cdot \tau’\)
  • \([\xi(\tau),\xi(\tau’)] = 2\xi(\tau \times \tau’)\)
  • \(\Phi(\tau) = -\nabla\xi(\tau)\)

Conversely, if \(\mathcal{S}_1,\mathcal{S}_2, \mathcal{S}_3\) are Sasakian structures on \((\mathbb{M},g)\) with Reeb fields \(\xi_1, \xi_2, \xi_3\) such that

  • \(g(\xi_a,\xi_b) = \delta_{ab}\)
  • \([\xi_a,\xi_b] = 2\epsilon_{abc}\xi_c\)

then \(\mathcal{S} = \{\mathcal{S}_1,\mathcal{S}_2, \mathcal{S}_3\}\) is a 3-Sasakian structure on \(\mathbb{M}\).

Tags: , , , ,

I have been caught up in end of semester preparations, but further posts in the series on connections on contact foliated manifolds are forthcoming.  In the meantime, I thought I would post the following notes from a lecture on the relationship between Sasakian and Kahler manifolds that I gave to the UConn Complex Geometry seminar on Friday, 23 March, 2018.  I will be giving a second talk on Friday, 20 April, and the notes will subsequently appear here.  Much of the following is adapted from Banyaga and Houenou, A Brief Introduction to Symplectic and Contact manifolds.


In this post, I am interested in discussing the relationship between the following types of manifolds:

  • Symplectic
  • Contact
  • Kahler
  • Sasakian

Essentially by definition, Kahler manifolds are always symplectic (even dimensional), and Sasakian manifolds are always contact (odd dimensional.) We will see that there is a strong relationship between these two sets of structures.

Then, in order to investigate the conditions under which a compact contact manifold is Sasakian, we will introduce the Boothby-Wang fibration.

Symplectic and Contact manifolds

Symplectic manifolds

A symplectic manifold \((\mathbb{M},\omega)\) is a \(2n\)-dimensional smooth manifold with a closed, nondegenerate differential 2-form \(\omega\) called a symplectic form.

Since the symplectic form is a differential 2-form, it must be skew-symmetric, that is \(\omega(X,Y) = – \omega(Y,X)\). Since \(\omega\) is nondegenerate, \(\omega^n\) is a volume form and thus \(\mathbb{M}\) is oriented.

An almost complex structure \(J\) is an endomorphism of \(T\mathbb{M}\) such that \(J^2 = -Id\).

We say that an almost complex structure \(J\) is compatible with the symplectic manifold \((\mathbb{M},\omega)\) if

  • \(\omega(X,Y) = \omega(JX,JY)\) for all \(X,Y \in T\mathbb{M}\), and
  • The bilinear form \(g(X,Y) = \omega(X,JY)\) is symmetric and positive-definite (and thus a Riemannian metric.)

Let \((\mathbb{M},\omega)\) be a symplectic manifold. Then there exists a compatible almost complex structure, and moreover the set of all compatible almost complex structures is infinite and contractible.

Proof sketch: (Banyaga, Houenou)
Let \(g\) be any Riemannian metric on \(\mathbb{M}\) (which can always be done using the explicit construction on the basis elements) and consider the operator \(A = \tilde{g}^{-1} \circ \tilde{\omega}\) where \(\tilde{g}(X)(Y) = g(X,Y)\) and similarly \(\tilde{\omega}(X)(Y) = \omega(X,Y)\). Then
\[g(AX,Y) = \omega(X,Y).\]
Set \(A^t\) to be the adjoint of \(A\) by \(g\), that is
\[g(A^tX,Y) = g(X,AY).\]
We see that \(A\) is skew-symmetric
g(A^tX,Y) &= g(X,AY) \\
&= g(AY,X) \\
&= \omega(Y,X) \\
&= – \omega(X,Y) \\
&= – g(AX,Y) \\
and also that \(A^tA\) is positive-definite
\[g(A^tAX,X) = g(AX,AX) > 0, \quad X \neq 0\]
so \(A^tA\) is diagonalizable with positive eigenvalues \(\{\lambda_1, \dots, \lambda_{2n}\}\). Thus
\[A^tA = B \cdot diag(\lambda_1,\dots, \lambda_{2n}) \cdot B^{-1}\]
for some matrix \(B\). Define \(R = \sqrt{A^tA} = B \cdot diag(\sqrt{\lambda_1},\dots, \sqrt{\lambda_{2n}}) \cdot B^{-1}\) and also \(J = R^{-1}A\). Then

  • \(g(JX,JY) = g(X,Y)\),
  • \(JR = RJ\), and
  • \(J^t = -J\) so that \(J^2 = -Id\)

It follows that
\[\omega(JX,JY) = g(AJX,JY) = g(AX,Y) = \omega(X,Y)\]
\[\omega(X,JX) = g(AX,JX) = g(-JAX,X) = g(RX,X) > 0\]
for all \(X \neq 0\).
We define a new Riemannian metric
\[g_J(X,Y) = \omega(X,JX) = \cdots = g(RX,Y)\]
which depends on the original choice of \(g\), of which there are infinitely many. We can construct an explicit homotopy between \(J_1 = J_{g_1}\) and \(J_2 = J_{g_2}\) by
\[J_t = J_{(tg_1 + (1-t)g_2)}\]


  • \(\mathbb{R}^{2n}\) with coordinates \((x_1,\dots,x_n,y_1,\dots,y_n)\) and 2-form
    \[\omega = dx_1 \wedge dy_1 + \cdots dx_n \wedge dy_n\]
    is symplectic, since clearly \(d\omega = 0\) and \(\omega^n \neq 0\).
  • An even dimensional torus \(T^{2n} = \mathbb{R}^{2n}/\mathbb{Z}^{2n}\) will be a symplectic manifold with \(\omega\) descending to the quotient from the first example.

Theorem (Darboux)
Let \((\mathbb{M},\omega)\) be a symplectic manifold. Each point \(p \in \mathbb{M}\) has an open neighborhood \(U\) and a chart \(\phi \colon U \rightarrow \mathbb{R}^{2n}\) such that \(\phi(p) = 0\) and
\[\phi^*(\omega’) = \omega\vert_U\]
where \(\omega’\) is as in example 1 above.

In other words, all symplectic manifolds look the same, locally.

Contact manifolds

A contact manifold \((\mathbb{M}, \eta)\) is a \(2n+1\)-dimensional smooth manifold with a differential 1-form \(\eta\) such that \(\eta \wedge (d\eta)^n\) is a volume form. \(\eta\) is called a contact form.

Recall, \(\eta \wedge (d\eta)^n\) is a volume form if it is a nonvanishing \(2n+1\)-form. A contact form gives an orientation on \(\mathbb{M}\). Observe that for any smooth, nonvanishing function \(\rho\) on \(\mathbb{M}\) the 1-form \(\eta’ = \rho\eta\) will also be a contact form on \(\mathbb{M}\).

We have the following
Let \((\mathbb{M},\eta)\) be a contact manifold. There exists a unique vector field \(\xi\) called the Reeb vector field such that \(\eta(\xi) = 1\) and \(\iota_\xi d\eta = 0\).

Since \(\eta \wedge (d\eta)^n\) is nonvanishing, \(d\eta\) must have rank \(2n\). Let \(\xi_p \in \ker d\eta\), and find \(v_1, \dots, v_{2n}\) so that \(\{\xi_p, v_1, \dots, v_{2n}\}\) complete a basis of \(T_p\mathbb{M}\). Then
0 &\neq (\eta \wedge (d\eta)^n)(\xi_p,v_1,\dots,v_{2n}) \\
&= \eta(\xi_p) \wedge (d\eta)^n(v_1,\dots,v_{2n}) + \sum_{i=1}^{2n} (-1)^i \eta(v_i) (d\eta)^n(v_1,\dots,v_{i-1},\xi_p,v_{i+1},\dots,v_{2n}) \\
&= \eta(\xi_p) \wedge (d\eta)^n(v_1,\dots,v_{2n})
since \(\xi_p \in \ker d\eta\). But then \(\eta(\xi_p) \neq 0\) for all \(x\). Normalizing and denoting the result again by \(\xi\) we get
\eta(\xi) &= 1 \\
\iota_\xi d\eta &= 0
as desired.

It is always possible to find a Riemannian metric \(g\) on \(\mathbb{M}\) such that \(g(X,\xi) = \eta(X)\). Such a metric is called compatible with the contact structure.

We can sometimes construct a contact manifold from a symplectic one.

Claim: (Contactization of a symplectic manifold)
Let \((\mathbb{M}, \omega)\) be a symplectic manifold such that \(\omega\) is an exact form, that is there exists a 1-form \(\lambda\) with \(\omega = d\lambda\). Then \(\mathbb{M}’ = \mathbb{M} \times \mathbb{R}\) is a contact manifold with contact form \(\eta = \pi^*\lambda + dt\) where \(t \colon \mathbb{M} \times \mathbb{R} \rightarrow \mathbb{R}\) and \(\pi \colon \mathbb{M} \times \mathbb{R} \rightarrow \mathbb{M}\) are the canonical projections.

Notice that \(d\eta = d\pi^*\lambda + d^2t = \pi^*d\lambda = \pi^*\omega\). Thus \(\eta \wedge (d\eta)^n = \eta \wedge (\pi^*\omega)^n\) has rank \(2n+1\) and therefore must be a volume form on \(\mathbb{M}’\).

From a contact manifold we can also construct a symplectic manifold on its cone \(\mathbb{R}^+ \times \mathbb{M}\). This process is referred to the symplectization of \(\mathbb{M}\) (see Boyer-Galicki, pg 203.) We will discuss this in further detail.

Claim: (Symplectization of a contact manifold)
Let \(\eta\) be a 1-form on a \(2n+1\)-dimensional manifold \(\mathbb{M}\). Then \(\eta\) is a contact form on \(\mathbb{M}\) if and only if the 2-form \(\omega = d(r^2\eta) = 2rdr\wedge\eta + r^2d\eta\) is a symplectic form over the cone \(C(\mathbb{M})\).

If \((\mathbb{M}, \eta)\) is a contact manifold, then taking \(\omega = d(r^2\eta)\) gives a closed, nondegenerate 2-form on \(C(\mathbb{M})\).

If \(\omega = d(r^2\eta)\) is a symplectic form on \(C(\mathbb{M})\), then since \(\omega\) is closed we see that \(\tilde\eta = r^2\eta\) is a 1-form on \(C(\mathbb{M}) = \mathbb{M} \times \mathbb{R}^+\). Then, restricting \(\tilde\eta \vert_{M \times \{1\}} = \eta\) we see that \(\eta\) must be a nondegenerate 1-form on \(\mathbb{M}\). Since \(\omega^{n+1} = (d(r^2\eta))^{n+1} \neq 0\), it must be that \((d\eta)^n \neq 0\) on \(\mathbb{M}\), and we can conclude that \(\eta\) is a contact form on \(\mathbb{M}\).

We will be interested in this example later.


  • \(\mathbb{R}^{2n+1}\) with coordinates \((x_1,\dots,x_n,y_1,\dots,y_n,z)\) and 1-form
    \[\eta = \sum_{i=1}^{2n}x_idy_i + dz\]
    is a contact manifold, and has Reeb field
    \[\xi = \frac{\partial}{\partial z}\]
  • \(T^3\) with 1-form
    \[\eta = \cos(z) dx + \sin(z) dy\]
    is a contact manifold with Reeb field
    \[\xi = \cos(z) \frac{\partial}{\partial x} + \sin(z) \frac{\partial}{\partial y}\]
  • \(S^{2n+1} \subset \mathbb{R}^{2n+2}\) with 1-form
    \[\eta = \frac{1}{2}\left(\sum_{i=1}^{n+1} x_idy_x – y_i dx_i\right)\]
    is a contact manifold, and has Reeb field
    \[\xi = \sum_{i=1}^n x_i\frac{\partial}{\partial y_i} – y_i \frac{\partial}{\partial x_i}\]

Theorem: (Martinet)
Every orientable 3-manifold admits a contact structure.

There is a well-known theorem describing locally the behavior of all contact forms.
Theorem: (Darboux)
Let \(\eta\) be a contact form on a \(2n+1\)-dimensional manifold \(\mathbb{M}\). For each point \(p \in \mathbb{M}\) there exists an open neighborhood \(U\) of \(p\) and a chart \(\phi \colon U \rightarrow \mathbb{R}^{2n+1}\) with \(\phi(p) = 0\) and
\[\phi^*(\eta’) = \eta\vert_U\]
where \(\eta’\) is the standard contact form
\[\eta’ = \sum_{i=1}^n x_idy_i + dz\]

Kahler and Sasakian manifolds

Kahler manifolds

From the complex point of view, a Kahler manifold is defined as follows.
An almost Kahler manifold \((\mathbb{M},J,h)\) is a smooth manifold with almost complex structure
\[J \in End(T\mathbb{M})\]
(that is, \(J^2 = -Id\)) and hermitian scalar product
\[h \colon T\mathbb{M} \times T\mathbb{M} \rightarrow \mathbb{C}\]
(that is, \(h(X,\bar{Y}) = \overline{h(\bar{X},Y)}\) and \(h(X,\bar{X}) > 0\) for all \(X \neq 0\)) such that the associated differential 2-form
\[\omega(X,Y) = Re\ h(JX,Y)\]
is closed.

This can be strengthened as follows.

An almost Kahler manifold \((\mathbb{M},J,h)\) such that the almost complex structure \(J\) is integrable is called a Kahler manifold.

It is easy to show that K\”ahler manifolds are always even dimensional (this is a consequence of the existence of an almost complex structure,) and so
A Kahler manifold \((\mathbb{M},J,h)\) is a symplectic manifold \((\mathbb{M},\omega)\) when equipped with the 2-form
\[\omega(X,Y) = Re\ h(JX,Y)\]

In fact, there is an equivalent definition of K\”ahler manifolds from the symplectic perspective.
A Kahler manifold \((\mathbb{M},\omega,J)\) is a symplectic manifold with symplectic form \(\omega\) and an integrable almost complex structure \(J \in End(T\mathbb{M})\) such that \(g(X,Y) = \omega(X,JY)\) is symmetric and positive definite, and thus a Riemannian metric on \(\mathbb{M}\).

From this definition, we will recover the hermitian scalar product as \(h = g – i\omega\).

Sasakian manifolds

A contact metric structure on a contact manifold \((\mathbb{M},\eta)\) is a triple \((\xi, J,g)\) where \(\xi\) is the Reeb field associated to \(\eta\), \(g\) is a Riemannian metric on \(\mathbb{M}\) and \(J\) is a \((1,1)\)-tensor field satisfying

  • \(J(\xi) = 0\),
  • \(J^2(X) = -X + \eta(X)\xi\),
  • \(d\eta(X,Y) = g(X,JY)\), and
  • \(g(X,Y) = g(JX,JY) + \eta(X)\eta(Y)\).

Notice that \(g\) is then compatible with the contact structure.

Remark: A triple \((\xi,J,g)\) that meet conditions 1 and 2 are referred to as an almost contact structure on a contact manifold \((\mathbb{M},\eta)\).

Remark: Notice that if \((\mathbb{M},\eta)\) is the contactization of a symplectic manifold \((\mathbb{B},\omega)\) then \(J\) restricted to \(\mathbb{B}\) is an almost contact structure. In fact, by choosing an almost complex structure \(J\) on \((\mathbb{B},d\eta,g)\) (with compatible Riemannian metric \(g\)) and extending \(J\) it to \(\mathbb{M}\) by setting \(J(\xi) = 0\) and extending the \(g\) by \(g(X,Y) = g(JX,JY) + \eta(X)\eta(Y)\) we will recover a contact metric structure on \(\mathbb{M}\).

\(\mathbb{R}^3\) with the form
\[\eta = dz – ydx\]
is contact, by the above. The Reeb field is
\[V_3 = \xi = \frac{\partial}{\partial z}\]
and the contact distribution \(\mathbb{B} = \ker \eta\) is spanned by
\[V_1 = \frac{\partial}{\partial y} \text{ and } V_2 = y\frac{\partial}{\partial z} + \frac{\partial}{\partial x}\]
the compatible metric \(g\) must satisfy
\[g(V_i,V_j) = \delta_{ij}\]
so a computation gives us that
\[g = \left(\begin{array}{ccc} 1+y^2 & 0 & -y \\ 0 & 1 & 0 \\ -y & 0 & 1 \end{array}\right)\]
and we define the almost contact structure by
\[J(V_1) = -V_2, \quad J(V_2) = V_1, \quad J(V_3) = J(\xi) = 0\]

Every contact manifold admits infinitely many contact metric structures, all of which are homotopic.

Let \((\mathbb{M},g)\) be a Riemannian manifold. Its Riemannian cone is the Riemannian manifold \(C(\mathbb{M}) = \mathbb{R}^+ \times \mathbb{M}\) with cone metric
\[g_{C(\mathbb{M})} = dr^2 + r^2g\]
where \(r \in \mathbb{R}^+\).

It is clear that there is a one-to-one correspondence between Riemannian metrics on \(\mathbb{M}\) and cone metrics on \(C(\mathbb{M})\). Henceforth, denote \(\Psi = r\frac{\partial}{\partial r}\). We have the following

Let \((\mathbb{M},\xi,\eta,J)\) be an almost contact manifold. Then we can define a section \(I\) of the endomorphism bundle of \(TC(\mathbb{M})\) by
\[IY = JY + \eta(Y)\Psi, \quad I\Psi = -\xi\]
for \(Y \in T\mathbb{M}\) (where we abuse notation by identifying \(T(\mathbb{M})\) with \(T(\mathbb{M}) \times \{0\} \subset TC(\mathbb{M})\).) Then \(I\) is an almost complex structure on \(C(\mathbb{M})\).

We verify directly. First, for \(X = \rho\Psi\),
\[I^2 X = I(-\rho\xi) = -\rho J\xi – \rho\eta(\xi)\Psi = -\rho\Psi = -X\]
and for \(Y \in T\mathbb{M}\),
\[I^2Y = I(JY + \eta(Y)\Psi) = J^2Y + \eta(JY)\Psi – \eta(Y)\xi = -Y\]

Since for any \(X \in TC(\mathbb{M})\) it holds that \(X = \rho\Psi + Y\) with \(\rho\) a smooth function and \(Y \in T(\mathbb{M})\), we are done.

Recalling the symplectization of a contact manifold, we have the following.

There is a one-to-one correspondence between the contact metric structures \((\xi,\eta,J,g)\) on \(\mathbb{M}\) and almost K\”ahler structures \((dr^2 + r^2g, d(r^2\eta),I)\) on \(C(\mathbb{M})\).

An almost contact structure \((\xi, \eta, J)\) is said to be normal if the corresponding almost complex structure \(I\) on \(C(\mathbb{M})\) is integrable, or equivalently if \((C(M), dr^2 + r^2g, d(r^2\eta),I)\) is Kahler.

A manifold \(\mathbb{M}\) with a normal almost contact metric structure \((\xi,\eta,J,g)\) is called a Sasakian manifold.

In some sense, then, Sasakian manifolds are an odd-dimensional counterpart to Kahler manifolds.

\(S^{2n+1} \rightarrow S^{2n+1} \times \mathbb{R} = \mathbb{C}^{n+1}\).

Boothby-Wang Fibration

We want to understand the necessary conditions for a contact manifold to be Sasakian. To this end, we strengthen the notion of a contact structure. We hereafter assume our manifolds to be compact.

Let \((\mathbb{M},\eta)\) be a compact contact manifold. The Reeb field \(\xi\) generates a dynamical system on \(\mathbb{M}\); if the orbits of \(\xi\) are periodic with period 1 we call \((\mathbb{M},\eta)\) a regular contact manifold.

Remark: If the orbits are periodic with period \(\lambda(p)\) (which will be a nonvanishing constant on each orbit of \(\xi\)) then we can define \(\eta’ = \frac{1}{\lambda(p)}\eta\) which will then make \((\mathbb{M},\eta’)\) a regular contact manifold. It is necessary to show that \(\lambda(p)\) is smooth.

Any Reeb field on the torus \(T^3\) generates a noncompact integral curve diffeomorphic to \(\mathbb{R}\), and thus is not a regular contact form. This holds generally for tori, and is a theorem of Blair.

This then gives rise to the following characterization of regular contact manifolds.
Theorem: (Boothby-Wang)
If \((\mathbb{M},\eta)\) is a compact, regular contact manifold then

  • \(\mathbb{M}\) is a principal fiber bundle over the set of orbits \(\mathbb{B}\) with group and fiber \(S^1\),
  • \(\eta\) is a connection form in this bundle, and
  • the base space \(\mathbb{B}\) is a symplectic manifold whose symplectic form \(\omega\) given by \(\pi^*\omega = d\eta\) determines an integral cocycle on \(\mathbb{B}\), that is \(\omega\) is a representative of \(H^2(\mathbb{M},\mathbb{Z})\).

Proof sketch:

  • Since \(\xi\) is never \(0\), the integral curves must be closed, compact submanifolds of dimension 1, and thus homeomorphic to \(S^1\). Then \(\xi\) generates a periodic global one parameter group of transformations on \(\mathbb{M}\), i.e. an \(S^1\)-action, that leaves no point fixed. We can conclude that \(\pi \colon \mathbb{M} \rightarrow \mathbb{B}\) is a principal fiber bundle with group and fiber \(S^1\).
  • Notice that \(\mathcal{L}_\xi\eta = 0\) and \(\mathcal{L}_\xi d\eta = 0\). Let \(A = \frac{d}{dt}\) be a basis for the Lie algebra \(\mathfrak{S}^1\) of \(S^1\), and set \(\tilde\eta = \eta A\). We need to show that for \(B \in \mathfrak{S}^1\), \(\tilde\eta(B^*) = B\) (where \(B^*\) is the vector on \(\mathbb{M}\) induced by \(B\)) and that \(R^*_t\eta(X) = ad(t^{-1})X\). The first follows since \(A = \xi\), and the second follows from the fact that \(R^*_t\eta = \eta\) and the fact that \(S^1\) is abelian.
  • This is essentially a reversal of the contactization of a symplectic manifold. Since \(d\eta\) has rank \(2n\) and \(\iota_\xi d\eta = 0\), it is clear that \(\omega\) on \(\mathbb{B}\) given by \(\pi^*\omega = d\eta\) will be a volume form on \(\mathbb{B}\), making it a symplectic manifold. Moreover, \(\omega\) is necessarily exact, and so determines an element of \(H^2(\mathbb{M},\mathbb{R})\), what remains to be shown is that it is, in fact, integral. This follows from a theorem of Kobayashi.

Moreover, the converse holds as well
Theorem: (Boothby-Wang, converse)
If \((\mathbb{B},\omega)\) is a symplectic manifold such that \(\omega\) is an integral cocycle, there is a principal \(S^1\) bundle \(\mathbb{M}\) over \(\mathbb{B}\) and a 1-form \(\eta\) on \(\mathbb{M}\) such that \((\mathbb{M},\eta)\) is a contact manifold and the Reeb field of \((\mathbb{M},\eta)\) generates the action of \(S^1\) on the bundle.

Proof sketch:
The same theorem of Kobayashi gives the existence of a circle bundle \(\pi \colon \mathbb{M} \rightarrow \mathbb{B}\) with connection \(\tilde\eta\) and structure equation \(d\tilde\eta = \pi^*\omega\). It holds that \((d\tilde\eta)^n = \pi^*\omega^n \neq 0\), so that \(\tilde\eta \wedge (d\tilde\eta)^n \neq 0\) is a volume form. Letting \(A\) be a basis for \(\mathfrak{S}^1\) and defining \(\eta\) by \(\tilde\eta = \eta A\) we have that \(\eta(A) = 1\) and if \(\iota_Xd\omega = 0\) then \(\iota_{\pi(X)}\omega = 0\) so \(\pi(X) = 0\) which implies that \(X\) is vertical. Thus \(A = \xi\), the associated vector field to \(\eta\).

Recall that a Hodge manifold is a Kahler manifold \((\mathbb{M},g,\omega,J)\) such that the symplectic form is an integral cocycle.

If \(\mathbb{B}\) is a compact Hodge manifold , then it has over it a canonically associated circle bundle which is a regular contact manifold.

The Hopf Fibration: \(S^1 \rightarrow S^3 \rightarrow S^2\).

The Boothby-Wang fibration gives a canonical circle bundle over a symplectic manifold. Recall, of course, that Kahler manifolds are symplectic; there is the following interesting result:

Theorem: (Hatakeyama)
On a principle fiber bundle \(\pi \colon \mathbb{M} \rightarrow \mathbb{B}\) over an almost complex manifold \(\mathbb{B}\) with group \(S^1\) we can define an almost contact structure. Moreover, if the almost complex structure on \(\mathbb{B}\) is integrable and the curvature form on \(\mathbb{B}\) associated to the contact form of \(\mathbb{M}\) is of type \((1,1)\) then the almost contact structure on \(\mathbb{M}\) is normal.

The proof of the theorem is roughly along these lines: The construction of the contact metric structure is similar to the construction in the converse of Boothby-Wang, and the normality condition then follows from consideration of the Nijenhius tensor on B. The Newlander-Nirenberg theorem implies that J is integrable if and only if N = 0, which here can be shown to imply that the almost contact structure is normal.

Taking the last two results together gives
Theorem: (Hatakeyama)
A necessary and sufficient condition for a compact manifold with a regular contact structure to admit an associated normal contact metric structure (and thus be Sasakian) is that the base manifold of the Boothby-Wang fibration of \(\mathbb{M}\) is Hodge.


  • Banyaga, A.; Houenou, D. F. A Brief Introduction to Symplectic and Contact Manifolds; Nankai Tracts in Mathematics, Vol. 15; World Scientific: New Jersey, 2017.
  • W. M. Boothby and H. C. Wang, On contact manifolds, Ann. of Math., 68(1958), 721-734.
  • Foreman, Brendan. Complex contact manifolds and hyperkähler geometry. Kodai Math. J. 23 (2000), no. 1, 12–26. doi:10.2996/kmj/1138044153.
  • Hatakeyama, Yoji. Some notes on differentiable manifolds with almost contact structures. Tohoku Math. J. (2) 15 (1963), no. 2, 176–181. doi:10.2748/tmj/1178243844.
  • Kobayashi, Shoshichi. Principal fibre bundles with the 1-dimensional toroidal group. Tohoku Math. J. (2) 8 (1956), no. 1, 29–45. doi:10.2748/tmj/1178245006.
  • Morimoto, Akihiko. On normal almost contact structures. J. Math. Soc. Japan 15 (1963), no. 4, 420–436. doi:10.2969/jmsj/01540420.

Tags: , , , ,

« Older entries