Character varieties and actions on products of trees

It is well known that surface groups admit free and proper actions on finite products of infinite valence trees. In this note, we address the question of whether there can be a free and proper action on a finite product of bounded valence trees. We provide some obstructions and an arithmetic criterion for existence. The bulk of the paper is devoted to an approach to verifying the arithmetic criterion by studying the character variety of certain surface groups over fields of positive characteristic. The methods may be useful for attempting to determine when groups admit good linear representations in other contexts.

Publication Date:
Apr 18 2018
Date Submitted:
Mar 01 2019
Israel Journal of Mathematics, 225, 2
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 Record created 2019-03-01, last modified 2019-04-03

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