Algebraic linking numbers of knots in 3–manifolds

Rob Schneiderman
2003 Algebraic and Geometric Topology  
Relative self-linking and linking "numbers" for pairs of knots in oriented 3-manifolds are defined in terms of intersection invariants of immersed surfaces in 4-manifolds. The resulting concordance invariants generalize the usual homological notion of linking by taking into account the fundamental group of the ambient manifold and often map onto infinitely generated groups. The knot invariants generalize the cyclic (type 1) invariants of Kirk and Livingston and when taken with respect to
more » ... h respect to certain preferred knots, called spherical knots, relative self-linking numbers are characterized geometrically as the complete obstruction to the existence of a singular concordance which has all singularities paired by Whitney disks. This geometric equivalence relation, called W-equivalence, is also related finite type-1 equivalence (in the sense of Habiro and Goussarov) via the work of Conant and Teichner and represents a 'first order' improvement to an arbitrary singular concordance. For null-homotopic knots, a slightly weaker geometric equivalence relation is shown to admit a group structure.
doi:10.2140/agt.2003.3.921 fatcat:arouluyfizeybakxfamhxdazry