Homology torsion growth in right angled groups

1 June 2016

Torsion in homology are invariants that have received increasing attention over the last twenty years, by the work of Lück, Bergeron, Venkatesh and others. While there are various vanishing results, no one has found a finitely presented group where the torsion in the first homology is exponential over a normal chain with trivial intersection. On the other hand, conjecturally, every 3-manifold group should be an example.

A group is right angled if it can be generated by a list of infinite order elements, such that every element commutes with its neighbors. Many lattices in higher rank Lie groups (like SL(n,Z), n>2) are right angled. We prove that for a right angled group, the torsion in the first homology has subexponential growth for any Farber sequence of subgroups, in particular, any chain of normal subgroups with trivial intersection. We also exhibit right angled cocompact lattices in SL(n,R) (n>2), for which the Congruence Subgroup Property is not known. This is joint work with Nik Nikolov and Tsachik Gelander.