Alex Waldron, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Strong gap theorems via Yang-Mills flow
Given a principal bundle over a compact Riemannian 4-manifold or special-holonomy manifold, it is natural to ask whether a uniform gap exists between the instanton energy and that of any non-minimal Yang-Mills connection. This question is quite open in general, although positive results exist in the literature. We'll review several of these gap theorems and strengthen them to statements of the following type: the space of all connections below a certain energy deformation retracts (under Yang-Mills flow) onto the space of instantons. As applications, we recover a theorem of Taubes on path-connectedness of instanton moduli spaces on the 4-sphere, and obtain a method to construct instantons on quaternion-Kähler manifolds with positive scalar curvature.
The talk is based on joint work in progress with Anuk Dayaprema (UW-Madison).