Horocyclic products of trees
Journal of the European Mathematical Society (Print)
Let T_1,..., T_d be homogeneous trees with degrees q_1+1,..., q_d+1>=3, respectively. For each tree, let h:T_j->Z be the Busemann function with respect to a fixed boundary point (end). Its level sets are the horocycles. The horocyclic product of T_1,...,T_d is the graph DL(q_1,...,q_d) consisting of all d-tuples x_1...x_d in T_1x...xT_d with h(x_1)+...+h(x_d)=0, equipped with a natural neighbourhood relation. In the present paper, we explore the geometric, algebraic, analytic and probabilistic
... roperties of these graphs and their isometry groups. If d=2 and q_1=q_2=q then we obtain a Cayley graph of the lamplighter group (wreath product) (Z/qZ) wr Z. If d=3 and q_1=q_2=q_3=q then DL is the Cayley graph of a finitely presented group into which the lamplighter group embeds naturally. Also when d>=4 and q_1=...=q_d=q is such that each prime power in the decomposition of q is larger than d-1, we show that DL is a Cayley graph of a finitely presented group. This group is of type F_d-1, but not F_d. It is not automatic, but it is an automata group in most cases. On the other hand, when the q_j do not all coincide, DL(q_1,...,q_d) is a vertex-transitive graph, but is not the Cayley graph of a finitely generated group. Indeed, it does not even admit a group action with finitely many orbits and finite point stabilizers. The l^2-spectrum of the "simple random walk" operator on DL is always pure point. When d=2, it is known explicitly from previous work, while for d=3 we compute it explicitly. Finally, we determine the Poisson boundary of a large class of group-invariant random walks on DL. It coincides with a part of the geometric boundary of DL.